All the Answers You Never Wanted

Welcome to the blog companion to the podcast, “Harley’n’Mr.D”.  We are working feverishly to get our exalted opinions, views, beliefs, disbeliefs, ultra-paranoid uber-conspiracy theories, fantastical ravings, rantings, thoroughly unfounded and ridiculous explanations to every question, conundrum, riddle, puzzle, mystery and controversy we can dream up with our amazing intellect.  We might even throw in discussion of topics that are relevant to real life, and real people.  We might even do some honest work like research and share ideas that are informative, and may be even helpful.

No promises, though.

Figure Model Hobby

I thought dinosaurs were cool as a kid. Decades later, when the first Jurassic Park movie was released, I got a hankerin’ for a three-dimensional dinosaur of my own.  It was the early days of the internet and I started poking around and discovered the fantastic world of dinosaur scale model kits, and I dove head long into a new hobby. It didn’t cross my mind for a very long time  what an oddball I was at the time.  (If you’re not sure what kind of oddball I mean, that would be a female in an otherwise male dominated hobby.)  After I’d meticulously completed a few kits, I advertised my buildup services and stayed very busy for a year. The most amazing thing is what I discovered five years after I quit  doing buildup for other figure model collectors.

In 2005 my husband attended  a huge multimedia convention in Atlanta, GA called Dragon Con. While my husband was touring the art show at the convention, which included an exhibit of scale models, he stopped to talk to another attendee. They were talking about the models and at some point my husband mentioned my name and the other man recognized my name.  He was from another place in the US but was a part of the model kit community. Somehow I had managed to make a name for myself. I found the scale model/figure model hobby world to be very welcoming and supportive.

In the past year I’ve been pursuing a growing interest in a category of scale models that I don’t see addressed in the usual modelers’ forums. I thought this seemed kind of odd. But as I have become more involved and expanded my networking, it has become clearer why the subgroup seems absent from the broader world of scale figure models.  The scale modeling subgroup I’m talking about is resin scale model horses. Professional horse sculptors appear to be just as amazing as anyone we are used to seeing who sculpt monsters and people, dinosaurs, etc. But the bulk of the market for horse kits seems to be an outgrowth of collectors of Breyer horses, Peter Stone horses, Schleich and Safari small toy horses. Why are resin horse models absent from the larger, established world of the model kit hobby?

It seems scale horse model collectors are an outgrowth of collecting very fancy horse toys and horse dolls.  Plenty of them prep, prime and paint their resins. But many seek the models already completed by someone else. Some collectors who might want to try their hand at painting their horse model, shop around to find someone else to prep and prime the model, basically bringing it up to the condition of a stripped down Breyer plastic horses.   And there is a very active world of people customizing their Breyers.  That’s what they call it.  Customizing. (The old term used to be “remaking” the Breyer. It can be similar to kit bashing.  I revisit this in a bit.) Customizing a Breyer can involve extensive and beautiful work.  This process may involve smoothing the plastic seams, refining the ears, nose, muzzle, hooves, tail and mane with x-acto blades and very fine files and Dremel attachments.  Sometimes these features are completely re-sculpted or covered or replaced with a sculpted prosthetic piece. A favorite medium for applying color is artist pastels.  It is a time-consuming, labor-intensive method for building up layers of color, but the end results can be rich and luminous.

And then there is what appears to be the rough equivalent of bashing a kit.  A plastic Breyer horse might be cut into pieces and repositioned and sculpted over.  The results can be astoundingly realistic and almost unrecognizable as a Breyer.   I wonder why these ambitious people don’t want to just sculpt their own entire horse.  They almost do anyway.

It appears most horse model collectors are female.  It appears that most of today’s adult model horse collectors were, like me, toy horse collectors as children.  By far the scale model horse market demographic is overwhelmingly female, both children and adults.

Most of the sculptors appear to possess the same extraordinary talent and creativity as any artist we have seen in the scale figure modeling world.

Anyway, why is the horse model collector community absent from the figure model collector community?

The only overarching difference is one faction is dominated by females and the other by males. The scenario reminds me of convergent evolution (“the process in which organisms that are not closely related independently evolve similar features” [biologydictionary.net]).

Did you ever get to watch the old 1930’s “Little Rascals” when you got home after school?  I’m reminded of the Little Rascals “He Man Woman Haters Club”

heman

This  harkens back to the early years  in our lives when the opposite sex was inherently repulsive. In girls’ collective view all boys were gross and dirty.  In boys’ collective view all girls were bossy and mean. (I dunno. Send in your suggestions for ‘collective views’.)

As a middle-aged female, I stepped into the mostly male model kit hobby without a bump. As an older middle aged female (and former child model horse collector!) I stepped into the present day horse model hobby without the foggiest notion of what to expect  and discovered a rather different version of the figure model hobby that has managed to isolate itself.  It’s strange because they use some of the same materials we do. We have to shop in the same places don’t we? Maybe not. (You can always charge a bit more if you add bows and glitter.)

There is a very talented horse model artist who thought it was in my best interest to explain to me the extraordinary intrinsic  value of “resin” (versus those ol’ plastic Breyers) and how important it was for the artist to find exactly the right picture of exactly the right horse that exists in reality – and she had been searching for it “for years”.  She let me know in so many words she could not just paint this “resin” something pretty, she needed to back it up with the pictures of a breed because the model is a “high dollar dude” that a customer will likely purchase and place in model horse shows…….So, bear in mind she dropped her request on social media for these pic’s. She wanted a picture of a very, very, heavy bodied draft horse that is also an appaloosa.  Hmm.  Many people had posted pictures in an effort to help her out (including me), and she had poo-pooed all of them.  I was beginning to think this woman was wanting a picture of something that either 1) does not exist in nature; or, 2) no one has taken a picture of yet and posted it online.  So I took her to task.  I asked her what specific breed she was trying to find and then I got the lesson on the value of resin.

I decided to read up on the model. The sculptor stated in a blog post the model is not intended to represent any particular equine breed.  I posted this information to the painter artist and that it seemed it was just a matter of time until someone takes a picture of the horse she wants to paint. I also added a few sentences describing how well acquainted I am with resin; how resin is essentially the standard for models in the much larger world of figure model hobby, and I have been doing this for around 17 years. (I do not know how old the artist is but judging by her picture I’d say that amounts to about half her life.)

And whatever happened to being an artist?  Like, taking a reference photo of a horse body type you are looking for, and a separate photo of a draft appaloosa, and then using your artistic abilities to put those characteristics together on the model?  (Blasphemy!)

Gag.  Give me a break.

Figure Modelers: Warm, welcoming, friendly. “Come on in.” More guys involved than girls.

Horse Model Collectors: Nice people. Speak their own language (more about that some other time). Participate in a subgroup of the figure model hobby completely isolated from the rest of the hobby. Virtually all female.  I don’t know of one male horse model collector although I’m sure they are out there.

The two worlds have not merged because they have not had to.   It’s like women’s and men’s shoes.

Blood Moon Rising

Below you’ll find a copy and paste from facebook.  It’s a movie review…sorta.  It might be helpful for when you are hurtin’ for something weird to watch…..

“Been filtering through a long list of werewolf movies trying to decide what might be worth 90 minutes of my life. I came across a review of “Blood Moon Rising” (2009) at IMDb
“…Along the way, there’s zombies and biker gangs and vampires and werewolves … all in a glorious cluster**** of a movies… almost a spoof of zombie-Satan-vampire-werewolf [aliens] movies.” [Uuuh, I would say forget the word “almost”]

With a review like that how can I resist? It just started…..looks like it will not disappoint. There’s even a treat for Ash v. The Evil Dead fans and a nod toward spaghetti westerns/Clint Eastwood. (FYI – look carefully at the artwork….featuring Ron Jeremy!! Also, a Caroline Munro look-like! )”blood moon rising movie

Blood Moon Rising-3

Blood Moon Rising-4

Blood Moon Rising-5

Blood Moon Rising-6

Brains!

45893

A tricky read…

OPINION/MINI-REVIEW: The article linked to this post blurs the line between TDP-43 and prions. I believe “Dr. Mercola” does this intentionally. The point of the article is to dissuade the reader from eating meat. That’s fine with me – I’m all for it. But this is NOT an article to teach you anything meaningful about Alzheimer’s Disease and I think the title of the article exploits people’s fear about Alzheimer’s. Here’s why I say this:

I have a particular interest in neuroscience. The article that accompanies this post caught my eye and I feel compelled to post a few comments regarding the topic in case you encounter the article and decide to read it. These are quickly composed comments. Included are a few references. There are many many more in-depth sources to explore but I focused on a few basic statements.

“Pathologic” TDP43**—is the “major disease protein and has been characterized as a main hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)” and other neurodegenerative conditions…..”Abnormalities of TDP-43 also occur in an important subset of Alzheimer’s disease patients.” — TARDBP and TDP-43 are gene characteristics. Genetic traits are not contagious – yes, genes are passed on through breeding but you know what I mean – you cannot catch a gene from someone or acquire a genetic trait via your diet. CONTRAST this with the transmission of prions. Prion diseases or “transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a family of rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans and animals…The causative agents of TSEs are believed to be prions.” I haven’t explored all the ways prions may be transmitted, but the most common one I am aware of is through ingestion of prion-infected animal tissue; however, it is not completely understood. I have friends who have a friend who is a medical examiner and it is my understanding special precautions are taken for autopsies on bodies suspected of being infected with prions.

**TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43, transactive response DNA binding protein 43 kDa), is a protein that in humans is encoded by the TARDBP gene.

Eur J Neurol. 2015 May;22(5):753-61; Mol Neurobiol. 2016 Jul;53(5):3349-3359; https://www.cdc.gov/prions/index.html; wikipedia

ENJOY THE ARTICLE!

Irony

The following is an except from a group’s fb page: “…D. Controversial Topics (Religion and Politics). Because they are so detrimental to the cohesion of any community…”
I found this statement ironic. Religion and politics evolved to preserve social order and the cohesion of a community, providing structure and organization, rules to live by, etc. But the statement is also true. *The* most divisive subject matter (in my experience) for groups of people are the differing views held by members of a community regarding those exact topics and all the extrapolations thereof.

From the wtf files….

Among the thousands of topics that fly around in social media, two seem to have surfaced in recent months that are ripe for distortion and for pollution with egregious misinformation.  One is “The Highly Sensitive Person” (HSP), and “the highly empathetic person”.  But most disturbing is what I discovered today…. What appears to be a weird conflation of the two called…” The Empath”.

I was very sad to discover “empath” being used as a noun in a widely read pop-psychology publication.  I feel embarrassed for them.  They should feel ashamed of themself.  A term came to mind that I first heard thirty years ago – intellectual masturbation.

Here is a picture of an Empath:

star-trek-babes-kathryn-hays-as-gem-in-the-empath

Here’s another one:

encounter-at-farpoint-counselor-deanna-troi-24183639-689-530

They are reading you now.  Are you feeling it?

Someone, somewhere, decided to use a shortened version of the word “empathy” and make it the label for a person who is highly empathetic AND a highly sensitive person. My take-away from a website’s article explaining ‘empaths’ was that non-empaths better watch out or else!  Empaths wreak vengeance on anyone that dares to deceive them, or feel jealous of them, or for whatever else pisses off an empath. Got it? Good.

I searched the word ‘empath’ at Merriam-Webster.com.  Here’s the result: “The word you’ve entered isn’t in the dictionary.”  Turns out it is in the “Urban Dictionary”. It may be noted the Urban Dictionary explains itself as “a crowdsourced online dictionary of slang words and phrases”.  Take from that what you will.

What follows are basic definitions and descriptions for which I found citations on short notice.  Wikipedia was utilized, but I did not stop there.

  • A highly empathetic person’s native language is Body Language. Body language is defined as “the gestures, movements, and mannerisms by which a person or animal communicates with others” [6] and includes body posture, the use of space, and eye movement.
  • “Microexpression” is a transient facial expression of an intense, concealed emotion, generally lasting a few tenths of a second. [7]  But highly empathetic people don’t only notice the face – they are highly perceptive to the body language of the whole person.  An outgrowth of the term microexpression is “micro cues”, and it seems fitting. Micro cues encompass all transient revealing indicators that may be observed in the whole person.
  • Empathy is defined as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also: the capacity for this”. [6] “Empathetic” means “of, relating to, or characterized by empathy, the psychological identification with the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of others”.

 

*************Being highly empathetic does not equal being psychic.****************

 

  • Personality is “the unique psychological qualities of an individual that influence a variety of characteristic behavior patterns (both overt and covert) across different situations and over time”. [4]
  • Traits are “enduring personal qualities or attributes that influence behavior across situations”. [4]
  • Cognitive processes are understood as the “higher mental processes, such as perception, memory, language, problem solving, and abstract thinking”. [4]

Empathy is a measurable personality trait (however imprecise that may be) and ‘psychic’ is a subject of metaphysical and mystical schools of thought (or however you prefer to characterize it).

Here’s some information about the so-called ‘Highly Sensitive Person’….

The following points are more fully discussed at The Highly Sensitive Person website [9]:

  • According to Dr. Elaine Aron’s definition, the highly sensitive person (HSP) has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment. These characteristics are innate, i.e. not learned or acquired. The HSP personality trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting.
  • 15 to 20% of the population are believed to possess this personality trait. This is too large a proportion to be a “disorder”, but not common enough to be well understood. Biologists have found these high sensitivity traits in over 100 species (and probably there are more) from fruit flies, birds, and fish to dogs, cats, horses, and primates.
  • Compared to the roughly 80% of people without the trait, the HSP processes everything around them more—reflect on it, elaborate on it, make associations — more than most other people. They are more aware than others of subtleties — they seem to “see more” than others because they notice This is mainly because their brain processes information differently than most people.
  • HSP’s are more easily overwhelmed. If a person tends to notice everything, they are naturally going to be overstimulated when things are too intense, complex, chaotic, or novel for a long time.
  • This personality trait is not a new discovery, but it has been misunderstood. Because HSPs prefer exercising some caution in new situations, they are often erroneously called “shy.” (30% of HSPs have been determined to be extroverts.)
  • Sensitivity is valued differently in different cultures. In cultures where it is not valued, HSPs tend to have low self-esteem. They are told “don’t be so sensitive” causing them to believe they are abnormal or somehow flawed.

 

References

  1. Booth, Charlotte; Standage, Helen; Fox, Elaine (1 Dec 2015), “Sensory-processing sensitivity moderates the association between childhood experiences and adult life satisfaction”, Personality and Individual Differences, 87: 24–29.
  2. Boterberg, Sofie; Warreyn, Petra (2016), “Making sense of it all: The impact of sensory processing sensitivity on daily functioning of children”, Personality and Individual Differences, 92: 80–86.
  3.  Wolf, Max; Van Doorn, G. Sander; Weissing, Franz J. (2008). “Evolutionary emergence of responsive and unresponsive personalities”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 105 (41): 15825–15830.
  4. American Psychological Association Glossary of Psychological Terms www.apa.org/research/action/glossary.aspx
  5. Dictionary.com, http://www.dictionary.com/browse/empathetic
  6. Merriam-Webster Dictionary,  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy
  7. Aron, Elaine N. PhD, (2013) The Highly Sensitive Person, Citadel (Penguin Random House Publisher Services).
  8. The Highly Sensitive Person (website) http://hsperson.com/