Monday, March 20, 2017

Precious Metal Clays $$$ 🎓 💪

Precious Metal Clays (PMC) are strange, wonderful things.  In the 1990s, Masaki Morikawa found a way to mix metal dust with an artificial, burnable clay like material.  You mold and shape the PMC into the desired shape, then fire it a kiln just like normal clay.  For some smaller pieces, you can use a blow torch, rather than a kiln.   What you are left with is pure metal - if a bit less dense than the normal stuff (it has holes where the clay used to be).  But it is almost 100% silver/bronze/gold/copper/steel once fired.

I used silver because gold is very expensive.  But even silver is expensive.  It's not just the clay (which obviously costs more than regular silver).  You also need a small kiln, and I would strongly recommend classes unless you are just working with the base metals (bronze/copper/steel).  Otherwise you will waste a lot of silver/gold learning simple things.

It is very easy to work with and requires no muscle.    But if you want to make something fantastic, you may need more skill.  I was capable of making a ring and earrings.

Typically you use it to make jewelry, though you could use it to make anything out it.   You could in fact make a bronze key, fix a broken zipper pull, a can opener, etc.  It's pretty sturdy.

Like most jewelry making classes, the far majority of students are female.  The woman that taught me focused on an older crowd, though that might be different at different places.

I took classes here:

Monday, March 13, 2017

Caving $ 🎓 💪💪

I've done a lot of caving, but mostly on tours.   They have climbing tours where you climb, floating tours where you float down an underground river, as well as the far more common walking tours.

Almost all caving tours are cheap - minimal equipment and training required.  Do NOT just go into a cave without a lot of training and safety equipment.  That way lies death.  Getting lost or hurt is easy without a guide, and human presence can dramatically affect the cave - your hand print leaves oil that will affect the wildlife that lives there.  Going on a tour doesn't take much skill, but without a guide, you need a lot of knowledge.  Basically, going without a guide is for experts, and if you are getting any information about caving from me, you are not an expert.

Everyone likes to check out caves - young and old, men and women.  You obviously need a flashlight.  If you are in a river cave, you will need a life jacket and possibly a wet suit.  You definitely want water shoes of some kind.  Tours should provide this.

Walking and floating tours require you to be in reasonable good shape, but not more than that.  Climbing tours are for the more advanced people.  They take more skill and muscle.

Of the tours I have taken, I liked the floating tour the best.   It was in Mexico, near Cozumel, at the Rio Secreto:

Monday, March 6, 2017

Improv $$$ 🎓 💪

New York City is a major theater town and there are a LOT of classes for various types of acting, including improv class   It tends towards young people, but older students are welcome!  It's pretty balanced gender-wise.  You also don't need any other acting experience.

They usually start with a warm up exercise that is similar/identical to kid's games.   Then you are taught the rules of improv - things like "always say Yes and",  never reject the premise ("It was all a dream"),  mime using the device rather than being the device (pretend to hold a gun rather than shape your hand like a gun), etc.  All the while you are given a lot of time to practice and try things out.   It's good, safe, fun.

It's a bit expensive, mainly because they sell you 8 classes at once, rather than a monthly set of group classes.   But I really enjoyed it. They do offer work study, which can help with the price.

On the plus side, eight classes mean you really get to know your fellow students.  It's easy to become friends with them.  It's very social, you make friends.

It doesn't take much muscle nor does it require you to work hard.  Even if you are not a good actor you can still have a lot of fun.  You do put on actual shows - and convince your friends/loved ones to come see them (paying money for the privileged of seeing you too.)

I took classes at The People's Improv Theater: