Suspension-themed ring design ideas and other news

In good news, I have been tossing around ideas for a set of body modification and ritual themed rings, with the first couple that I’ll probably get finished being a pair of suspension themed rings, one with a classic Mustad-style hook, and the other with a Gilson-style safety hook. Pretty happy with how both of them are going. The only major design element I see changing still is that I haven’t put any effort yet into making sure the knots are correct… probably shouldn’t skimp on that since it’s not really any harder to do it right than to fake it. Other than that it’s just a matter of cleaning it up, making it all look nice and perfect, and then the normal steps of making a mold and casting them in metal.

The other good news is that I got a new throttle in the mail today for my electric trike project and now the motors are turning, so I can finally get to putting that “super wheelchair” together. Should be a lot of fun. My good/bad news is that after several engine swaps my truck isn’t missing any of the AC components — because goddamn is this looking to be one hell of a hot summer — but a lot of them are rusted out and dead, so it’s going to have air conditioning shortly, but it won’t be as cheap as simply charging up the system. My bad news is that my daughter’s health is not improving with medication so I think she’s going to miss the remainder of the school year and come back up here sooner than expected (at least that part of it is good, in a way) for medical care.

Hand Art, Food Art, Film Art, Computer Art, Comic Art

For whatever reason work wasn’t going well today. Not badly, just slowly. But I did make two very nice rings, a simple skull ring of my classic type with aventurine eyes, and a vampire skull ring with beautiful sapphire eyes and a great glowing citrine on the back that sits in the middle of a massive engraved spiral that fills the whole back of the ring. The lower jaw has been left off and I have carved monster/vampire teeth into the uppers as well. The funny part of the story is the reason I did it like that is because when I was mounting the eyes I wasn’t paying attention and hit the jaw with my soldering iron and melted part of it off… so I just ran with it.

Click either set of thumbnails to jump to the shop page on Etsy to see everything bigger or to buy:

After “work” we went across the street to Zocalo where I had a meal with pork sausage as the centre, which was very nice, especially because it’s not something I get to eat often. I’m looking forward to the rest of the night because I finally got my hands on an Iron Sky DVD and am greatly looking forward to. I admit that I did download a German cam, but the quality was terrible and it crashed the decoder twenty minutes in, so this should be much nicer. I admit that I’m not expecting a lot, but I hope it will be some campy fun with some nice Nazi UFO space and moon sequences.

Other than that, I’ve been using the new Photoshop, CS6, and I think the only feature that I use on any regular basis (over CS4 which had been my workhorse for the last couple years) is the oil pain filter. I find that it’s exceptional for cleaning up faux-vector linework, which may come as a surprise!!! All of the linework on the BME 2012 was first drawn by hand, then redrawn on the computer, and finally, run through this filter. I used the same process on a shirt that I recently drew for a friend’s food business, and I really recommend it. It seems to make things “flow” better. Of course you can use it for photos too, but it’s kind of a one-trick pony there and I see it getting old real quick.

And when the movie is over I will read the latest issue of Crossed:Badlands before bed, and remember, there are lots of free (and I’m talking guilt-free-free, not pirated-free) issues of the Crossed webcomic online with nine issues published as of this writing. If you’re an adult with a taste for the perverse and violent, there’s something special about this filth.

Lots of new jewelry – pyramid rings mostly

Today I made eight new pyramid rings, four of each type, with various stones, and also did a proof of concept on mounting stone eyes into the tiki rings (which looks icnredible if I do say so myself!!!), and posted them all to the Etsy shop. You can click the little pictures below to jump right to the item and grab it before anyone else does. Prices are largely determined by the extra cost of the specific stone, and as always “pay what you can” is still my motto. Thanks for the support!

Some good news for a change

A guy from Rogers spent all of yesterday rebuilding the cable box right over my front door, which I guess services the entire building. Apparently they were getting tons of complaints (from us included) about the quality of service — drop-outs and bandwidth not being what it was promised — and when he looked at the box, he discovered that the whole thing was one big rotted rusted mess. We pay for “up to 75mbps” and have been lucky to get half that, with it being in single digits many days, if we can connect at all. But today after the repair, things are looking up:

That’s much better. Hopefully it stays like that. I have gotten excited about good numbers before, only to be disappointed a few days later.

Other than that, I feel pretty crummy because I didn’t get as much sleep as I should of due to my neighbors screaming inconsolably at each other for two and a half hours starting at 4AM, but I’ve cast a pile of jewelry that I want to work on now, and I’m also working on a new clock that I expect I’ll post in a couple days.

Mega-Fail at Runnymede Chapters Store (Toronto)

Here is the angry letter that I just dropped off at Chapters, with copies being sent to corporate as well. Short story is that they got rid of the entire graphic novel section (which was extensive and had caused be to browse and buy many great reads) and put it behind the counter where you now have to ask for specific books and can no longer browse and discover new favorites. It’s ridiculous, and it really irked me both because I liked that section, and because stupidity bothers me in general. As if selling media isn’t hard enough already without stores crippling themselves.

May 26, 2012

To whom it may concern,

I am writing today about the misguided decision to eliminate the graphic novel section of your store (specifically, the Bloor and Runnymede location) and move all books in that section behind the counter, thereby eliminating the ability to browse the section and discover new books to purchase. I write this not as a concerned busy-body, but as a loyal customer who has spent literally thousands of dollars on graphic novels, almost entirely in your store (to say nothing of my purchases in other sections, and those of people that have accompanied me to the store). I am now no longer able to use this section of the store, which was my primary reason for shopping there in person. So in my case you have managed to insult, alienate, and convert a loyal customer spending a great deal of money every year in your store to someone who will not return and thus will spend nothing at your store.

It was explained to me that the reason that this change was made is that some people allegedly complained about the condition of the books in that section. If you really believe that books are being damaged, it makes a lot more sense to have your staff monitor that section for problem customers, rather than punish the good customers by eliminating the section — surely you can see how perverse it is for a bookstore to take its books off the shelves because of too much interest? After all, if the books are being handled too much, that should be a sign that the section is drawing potential customers. Congratulations in chasing them away rather than working to convert them into profit. It seems crazy that I should have to explain this… What kind of a book store takes books off their shelves because they are afraid that too many people will be interested in them? Even comic book stores that cater to the most elite of collectors don’t make their graphic novels inaccessible for browsing as it makes absolutely no business sense to destroy the single most effective marketing method while treating your best customers like criminals.

In any case, as someone who purchased very regularly in that section, I have personally never noticed a problem with wear-and-tear on the items in that section (although I have noticed among the magazines, but I’m supposing that you simply don’t care about that loss since you can report the used and damaged items as “unsold” to the publishers), and in any case, items that are deemed as having “special collector value” have always been shrink-wrapped and not available for browsing. I have trouble believing this was a real problem let alone that this is a sensible solution — talk about chopping off your nose to spite your face! Perhaps more importantly, this can not possibly be unique to the graphic novel section. Why not get rid of all the bookshelves in your store? Why target just this section? It seems very strange to me that on one hand your book store encourages people to sit there all day and read as if it is a library — with comfortable chairs made available to the many people who do just that. Personally I am not one of those people, and I find the idea of abusing a business in this way offencive and I wish you’d get rid of the chairs. But you created this situation. You created an environment that encourages people to read rather than purchase, and it is an issue across the entire store, not just in graphic novels. Yet when someone complains about people treating your store as the library your interior designers have it masquerading as, instead of dealing with the issue of people abusing the business, you take the books off the shelves. I feel like I’m living in “bizarre land”!

On the off chance that someone there thinks that any of this actually makes good business sense, let me point out the obvious. For someone to come in to the store and buy a graphic novel that’s behind the counter they would have to already know about the item. This means two big things — first of all, in nearly all sales, they had the desire to buy the item long before walking in your doors. This greatly increases the chances that they buy the item elsewhere, most likely online. More importantly perhaps, there is no possibility of a customer coming in to buy one item, and walking out with two — or more — because they flipped through it on the shelf. There will be no expansion of sales or growth in the market. People will no longer be able to come into the store to discover new graphic novels to purchase, something which I had done many times. Instead, to discover new items to read and enjoy they will either have to patronize other stores, or discover them by reading reviews and suggested reading links online ( is superb for this and has more features for discovering new material than your own website does) — in either case, this means lost sales and lost customers for you. At this point I can browse and search for new material more effectively online — I can even “look inside the book” at It’s nonsense that I can get a better feel for physical products on a website than I can in person at your store!!! And you know what? When you chase your customers away like this, don’t think that you’re just going to convert them into people that purchase online, because we all know that many of those “customers” become “pirates” instead — after all, if you visit sites like “The Pirate Bay”, you will see that nearly every graphic novel is available for free download. Your actions hurt more than just Chapters — by proxy you are also hurting the artists and writers that rely on you to get their product into the hands of consumers.

I sincerely hope you reconsider this poorly thought out decision. Until you do, you have lost an until-now loyal customer that was happy spending regular money in your store. I will not return until this policy has changed, and I to emphasize that point I will choose other online retailers to patronize as well. Please reconsider this deranged policy, and under no circumstances allow it to spread to other Chapters locations. You might also want to strongly consider firing whoever actually made this decision as they are clearly a liability for your business, but that’s probably asking too much.

If you put the graphic novels back on the shelves I would be happy to return as a customer. If and when these changes are made please contact me so that I know the situation has impoved. I can be reached by telephone, email, or mail.

Sincerely hoping this does not fall on deaf ears,

Shannon Larratt
(contact details removed)