Kult of Athena


Monday, September 12, 2011

You WERE Spartacus

I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the family of actor Andy Whitfield, 39, who played the Thracian warrior Spartacus in the hit series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand." Whitfield, unfortunately, lost his 18-month battle with Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma today. He was surrounded by his family and, sources say, went very peacefully.

Going very peacefully....unlike his enemies in Blood and Sand! When this loin cloth wearing madman wasn't bedding the hottest Roman debutantes Capua had to offer,

he was slicing himself off slabs of whoop ass (and flabby enemy meat parcels) using his quick action two-handed sword style. Bloody, gritty, fast, and awesome.

He was the alpha innovator for this series (Gods of the Arena is the prequel) and the only warrior/actor who ever made me believe that there was life beyond a shitty pilot episode.

Gladiator, we salute you!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Shipping Swords

I have heard in tales across the Internet that there is a monumental shift in the way people spend their hard earned money. Most are not going out to buy the newest and greatest Apple gadget right off of the shelf. They aren't investing their money in gold and oil as people have done in previous shaky economies of yesteryear. No, their investment is in creation, in remembrance, in the genesis of life long memories through unforgettable travel to foreign, exotic locations.

Think about this. You purchase something collectible. It's beautiful. It's tangible. You can hold it, feel it. It's a showpiece. It showcases part of yourself and your soul, who you are just past the surface.

But then, after a while, it becomes something different. You change.

You take it off the wall to make room for something new. You wrap it up in noisy bubble paper, put it in the corner or under the bed. Eventually, whatever this thing was to you has completely changed and eventually collects dust in your attic, your basement, or the dark recesses under the bed. Your desire is still there, but the possessiveness ebbs away.

It's not that you're a bad person. It's not that you aren't grateful for the work that went into said thing that meant so much once upon a time. You have just outgrown whatever it is that you were holding onto, and now you are looking for something better, something that has no expiration date. The mind's escape at the office. Your now favorite story. The all impressive "yeah, I've been there. Went last year. Beautiful."

So, when Shelley, my lovely fiance (we're marrying next July), and Mr. Rob Stewart, my very best friend (getting married in less than a month) let me know that there were ways in which we NEEDED to celebrate right and proper, I knew that sacrifices for immortality had to be made. And, those transcendent experiences weren't going to pay for themselves.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have a decent paying job. But I knew all the overtime in the world wasn't going to give me what I needed. $2500 for this, $20,000 for that, trip to NYC for one last hurrah? Why not! It adds up, and fast. I knew that haste was needed and I knew that the showpieces I had collected since I was 16 years old were just collecting dust.

It wasn't easy, but I decided, as I had purchased almost all my collection from Ebay and from the SBG Swordbuyers Guide (SBG) For Sale pages, at less than market cost, that I would just sell sword back into the market.

My Global Gear Solingen Broadsword.


No big deal. I don't remember how much I paid for it before college and I didn't care. With all the money I spent on "good beer" senior year at UNH (shudder), I could afford to take a minor dip on the return.

The sword sold in a day.

There is nothing better than that message "YOU'RE ITEM SOLD!" from Ebay when you open your email. You finally have that warming streak of good luck all over and that little smile at the edge of your mouth. It's the best single malt you'll ever taste.

I was in! If selling pieces that weren't really my style to begin with, pieces that were simply collecting dust in an attic was this easy, they all had to go:

Eye of Balor Sword from Windlass Cutlery:

12th Century Broadsword from Darksword Armory:

VERY RARE Icingdeath Sword of Drizzt Do'Urden Windlass Cutlery

High Elven King Sword Gen 2 (1st Edition, rare):

Generation 2 Excalibur Sword (Very Rare, Discontinued):

Total Profit: $1355.00

With millions on Ebay, and thousands on SBG, it was like fishing with dynamite. Collectors, backyard cutters, man cave decorators, they all knew from the descriptions (essential!!) that my swords were the real deal.

But, with every sale, came the big question: How was I going to ship these? USPS had no boxes, and frowned upon shipping weapons (metallic wall art) across state lines. FedEx wanted and extra $20 to make me a custom box. UPS only had boxes big enough for one handers. Come on. This is America! I don't ever have to leave the house again if I don't want to, and you're telling me I can find a long cardboard box? There's got to be a better way.

So, looking for solace and an answer to my query, I posted a question to my Bretheren of Steel on the almighty Facebook and got the an overwhelming response "Just make them. Try the Home Depot."

Manna from heaven.

The place is a warehouse after all. 90 percent of their materials are home construction pieces, long, skinny plywood and plastic siding the require long heavy duty cardboard boxes that can withstand the rigors of interstate travel. Exactly what I was looking for.

"Hey, what do you guys do with the empty cardboard boxes?"

"Eh, we crush em and throw them out to be recycled."

"Mind if I grab a couple boxes from over here? You guys don't sell them (Progress Lighting Recessed Lighting Accessory, Pro-Optic T-Bar Hanger Bars boxes fit even the longest swords) by the box do you?"

"Nah, we dont. Go ahead. Knock yourself out."

Sweet!! Free shipping materials! I walked right out of that Home Depot with two perfectly sized boxes for sword shipping. The best part was, it was all free!

Later, I slapped some free newspaper (many cities have free news publications that you can use as packing fodder to keep the sword from bouncing around) inside of those boxes, slapped some packing tape around the top, and she was good to go.

Now, I will say this, if a sword does not fit, you are going to have one hell of time MAKING a box to fit the dimensions. Make sure you have the following essential materials in order to create a wider/longer/more accommodating box for any size sword:

  • Long sections of cardboard, approximately 5 feet in length
  • Plenty of extra cardboard for mistakes and packing
  • Two 22-yard packing tape rolls (clear or brown the best, dont use duct tape)
  • Standard box cutter(scissors suck on cardboard)
  • Free newspaper for packing
  • Ventilation (box making is sweaty work)
  • Patience (see previous point)

Yes, your house will look like this:

But when you are cruising along on your honeymoon in the Mediterranean Sea, or sharing a jail cell in New York City because your friend punched the midget at the donkey show/bachelor party, I think you'll agree that it was totally worth the mess.