Archive for November, 2010

It’s only a model (of Minas Tirith made of half a million matchsticks)

Looking at Pat Acton’s take on the White City of Gondor approximates the view from the back of an approaching eagle – or, perhaps, a really high catapult-flung projectile. Pat worked for three years building his own personal bigature of Minas Tirith out of 420,000 matchsticks, and it looks amazing: the tiers, watchtowers and gates, the tunnels that weave in and out of the structure, connecting, with every stair step visible and sturdy.

Though Minas Tirith was also on display at the Iowa State Fair this year, some friends and I saw it at the Matchstick Marvels museum in Gladbrook (population: approx. 1,000 people). Connected to the local movie theater and built and maintained by volunteers from the community, the museum currently houses 18 of Pat’s intricate creations, including the U.S. Capitol (498,000 matchsticks), the nursery rhyme’s crooked old man with the crooked cat in the crooked old house (300,000), a brontosaurus (18,000), and the iconic whiskey-bottle-adorning clipper ship the Cutty Sark (38,000). I recently posted a few pictures of them to my Flickr page.

Unfortunately for the Midwest, the true victor of the Battle of Pelannor Fields was apparently Spain. Minas Tirith will leave Gladbrook after next Tuesday to join Pat’s tactile vision of Hogwarts (602,000 matchsticks) on the island of Mallorca. Gondorian architecture replications or no, however, the museum is a genuinely impressive collection of locally-made art out in the Iowan countryside.  Friendly place, too.

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Arctic exploration. World peace. Volunteer justice.

The inglorious refrain of the internet – “under construction.” It was plastered all over my Angelfire account back when I was much younger, back when it was the custom of the day to accompany it with all manner of flashing lights and chartreuse and other hard-to-spell colors. Here we are though in 2010, the colors of the internet have pleasantly been subdued, and suffice to say in the unlikely event that nothing follows this post by February, I’ve probably shuffled off this virtual coil (at least in any practical sense).

I’m starting this as a professional blog. My goals is to make this a nexus for my writing, photography, and video projects, some of which I do full time – as a web & marketing writer for Buena Vista University – and all of which I do on a freelance basis.

For some initial examples – three stories I wrote are currently highlighted on the BVU homepage:

Arctic Dogsled Expedition Leader Speaks on Campus

Students Make Paper Cranes for Hiroshima Peace Memorial

BVU Criminal Justice Program Partners with Innocence Project of Iowa

Arctic adventure! Oragami! World Peace! Cute puppies! Wrongful accusations! Justice at whatever the cost*! Higher education! It’s all above, folks, with more to come!

*for free!

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