Library House | Shinichi Ogawa & Associates Japan, 2012

❝ Reading in college is hard: a post

No, I don’t mean regular reading. What I’m talking about is finding time to peruse books that are unrelated to your studies. Books that aren’t necessarily Plato or The Odyssey or Ignorance: How it Drives Science (yes, really). I heard it from plenty of people as I entered college, and I don’t doubt you have too - “Say goodbye to reading your own books until you graduate!”

The thing about life is that it tends to grab you by the scruff of your neck and scream, ‘Pay attention to me.’ That’s pretty much what happened to me in the past year, what with dealing with the new workload and friends and being independent.

The good news, though, is that I’ve managed to read 25 books so far in 2014, which is a whopping 18 more than last year (not including books for college, which would bring my count up significantly). I know, I know - I only read 7 non-school related books last year. The shame is real. 

Nevertheless, it seems I’m on track for my goal this year, which is truly satisfying! I still have a ways to go, though, and a new school year is approaching… So without further ado, I present to you -

How to keep reading in college: highly questionable advice from a current student

  • Read during your summer: This was the main way I brought up my book count. Even though I was on another continent for an internship for most of my summer, I still found time to read. The thing about an office job is that it ends earlier than the typical college day - that is to say, it actually ends at a set time. Whether it’s your essay due tomorrow morning, extracurriculars, or hanging out with friends, there always seems to be something to do in college. If you’re at home for the summer, or have an internship, you’re probably going to have more relaxation time. So instead of  binging TV series (which I also did a fair amount of, mind you), use your free evenings to crack open a book and read, read, read!

  • Read ebooks: It’s common practice for the college student to open a textbook, read a sentence, and then promptly fall asleep on it. After a while, it almost becomes a second nature, so much that reading any paperback books might make you yawn. Or maybe you’re just too tired to peruse physical pages, in which case you could go to sleep - or you could read an ebook on your laptop or ereader, which is much more likely to keep you awake because bless technology. Your book count will thank you, but your sleep schedule probably won’t.

    Plus, physical books are expensive and take up space. If you, like me, live a jobless, ramen-subsisting life in a tiny dorm room with precious little shelf space, then ebooks are definitely the way to go.

  • Say no to TV: You should probably do this anyway in college, regardless of whether you aim to read more or not. I had to dramatically cut down on my TV show consumption in college as compared to high school, and I watched even less after I started trying to read more. Plus, I watch less TV nowadays because I feel like I’ve pretty much seen all the series I want to see. So, kids - get all your TV binging out of the way in high school, it’ll be totally productive for college! 
  • Put those skimming skills to good use: The great thing about many books - or novels, at least - is that they’re a good deal easier to understand and less dense than many academic texts. You’ve probably gotten really good at reading things fast and retaining the information through your college experience, so there’s no excuse for spending days on a short novel like when you were 11 years old. Finish that sucker in one go.

  • Wildly procrastinate your school assignments to finish books because you have to read the next chapter, you just have to: I think this one speaks for itself. 

Good luck, and happy reading!


Paris pt x (by J-Andersson)

· Anonymous · asked:  How do we developed characters? What do we change? How do we change it? How do we pace it slowly enough to seem natural? I keep accidentally making my characters suddenly jerk into perfection for no apparent reason. Thanks, love the blog!


There are two methods to building characters: Slowly or All At Once.

Slowly. You start with a basic idea of the role you need your character to fill. You start shaping the most basic personality around it. For example, you know a character will become the rebel leader, so you make them rebellious and a leader. You might make vague efforts to describe them, like brown hair and pudgy. Then you start writing the story. Your amorphous character begins to encounter conflict and times for development. You make decisions on how a character will react to that conflict, to that time of development, and your character becomes the aggregate of those decisions and developments. 

All At Once. You fill out character questionnaires, make or find a body/face that fits them, and map out their growth. My favorite questionnaires are here and here. You can also use the immensely useful Charahub to keep track of minor characters you don’t want to fill out a full questionnaire for.

For more help on either method, look in my character building tag and personalities tag, and there are more specific tags under the character heading.

Read More


A Beginner’s Glossary of Terms for Swords

  • Arms of the Hilt

Part of the sword hilt extending on each side from the cross guard (or quillons) toward the blade and having the form of a small arc. The arms of the hilt are known to have been in use from the 15th century but they had probably made their appearance in the 14th, protecting the forefinger when it gripped the ricasso. They represented an important step in the development of the guard. In the swords of the 16th and 17th centuries the arms of the hilt served as a support for loops and rings of the guard, as well as for bars of the counterguard. 

  • Basket

An arrangement of bars, plates, and rings that form a “cage” around the sword hilt, creating a protected guard (or “basket”) around the wielder’s hand. 

  • Blade

The cutting and/or thrusting part of edged weapons, excluding the hilt. 

  • Blade Length (BL)

A unit of measurement representing the length of a weapon’s actual blade; generally measured from the tip to the end of the guards.

  • Blunt

A term applied to an unsharpened sword or dagger that has had its edges rounded for safe sparring activities. 

  • Button

A raised piece on the pommel of swords, daggers and knives, to which the tip of the tang of the blade was peened. It usually formed part of the pommel, but could also be a separate piece; it was sometimes made of a different material. Since the 19th century the button on military weapons has had a threaded hole inside to be screwed onto the threaded end of the tang. 

  • Center of Gravity (CoG) or Point of Balance

The Point of Balance on a sword is simply the point on which the center of gravity is located. In other words, it’s the spot along the blade’s length that has equal mass on either side of it. The PoB will vary widely between sword types and their intended functions. 

  • Center of Percussion 

The Center of Percussion of a blade is the measured value along its length that produces the least amount of vibration upon hitting a target. It’s the area able to deliver the most efficient, powerful blow and is often called the blade’s “sweet spot”.

  • Counterguard

Also called inner guard, a system of rings, loops, and bars in a sword guard that was developed in c.1500 to protect the inner side of the hand and body. Bars or branches of the counterguard usually joined the knuckle-guard and arms of the hilt. 

  • Cross (Cross-guard)

A part of the furniture of edged weapons, positioned crosswise to the blade and the grip. As the simplest form of guard, it has been known since antiquity. In some swords of the 16th to 18th centuries, cross guards were extended forward and backward to form the fore and rear quillons. Cross guards can also be seen on some staff weapons, on which they served the same purpose of protecting the hand. 

  • Cruciform

A term describing a sword with a simple cross-guard, that when inverted point up, forms the profile of a crucifix. 

  • Edge

The sharpened cutting portion of a weapon’s blade.

  • False Edge

In single-edged weapons, a sharpened portion of the back near the point; it is also called the back edge. It served both for better thrusting penetration and for cutting strikes carried out from the same position of the sword (without turning the hand).

  • Ferrule

A ring or cap reinforcing the grip of an edged weapon or the shaft of a pole arm. The term is also often applied to scabbard bands.

  • Finger Ring (Finger Guard)

The portion of a sword’s guard that is a semi-circular bar laying in the plane of the blade, attached to the root of the quillons and curved round to touch, or nearly touch, the edges of the blade. Finger rings are also called the Arms of the Hilt.

  • Foible

The upper third of the blade, ending in the point. The division of the blade into forte, terzo, and foible is attributed to the Italian school of fencing, which enjoyed a fine reputation in the 16th and 17th centuries.

  • Forte

The lower third of the blade of a sword, nearest the hilt, which is the strongest section of a blade and does most of the parrying. 

  • Fuller

The grooves running lengthwise on some blades of edged weaponry, designed to both lighten and make flexible the weapon. Compared with the various other structural modifications made to blades, the fuller appeared relatively late and only after considerable technological advances had been made in metalworking. In the Bronze Age there were opposite forms, with various angling and ribbing methods designed to reinforce the blade.

During the “barbarian” migrations, we find swords with blades having a wide, shallow groove running down both faces. At a later stage the first signatures or marks of the craftsman appeared in these grooves. Through the centuries the fuller became an even more integral part of the blade until, in the 16th and 17th centuries, it also became a demonstration of the craftsman’s skill.

  • Furniture

A generic word used to describe the accessories and fittings on various types of weapons. It refers, in particular, to everything built onto the tang of any edged weapon to facilitate its use and any decorative mounts on the handle, blade, or scabbard. It is also used in a general sense, when referring to attachments, fittings, and accessories of armor.

  • Grip

The part of edged weapons that is gripped by the hand. In the Stone Age it was made by rounding off and smoothing the part held, then binding it with leather or fabric. In the Bronze Age, because of the greater possibilities offered by this metal, the grip became markedly different from the rest of the weapons and added some sort of protection for the hand.

From the late Middle Ages, the wooden shaft was predominately used, covered with colored fabrics, sheets of decorated precious metal, polished leather, or twisted and braided wire. In order to provide a firm hold, the grip almost invariably had a spindle-like form, was fairly rounded, and trimmed and grooved.

  • Guard

In edged weapons, a device or a part designed to protect the user’s hand.

  • Hilt

The whole of the grip and the guard in a bladed weapon, generally consisting of the pommel, grip, and cross guard.

  • Knuckle-guard (or Knuckle-bow)

An important part of the hilt of swords and sabers in the form of a bow extending from the cross guard toward the pommel. As can be adduced from several English swords, it appeared no later than the mid-15th century, first as an extension of the cross guard strongly bent upward to protect the hand from cutting blows. Later the knuckle-guard became a central piece of the sophisticated system of side bars forming the guard of swords and rapiers.

Although it gradually lost its importance with the introduction of light thrusting smallswords in the second half of the 17th century, some examples of this weapon preserved the knuckle-guard as a traditional pattern up to the 20th century. In most types of military swords and sabers, the knuckle-guard has always retained its role of protecting the hand from cuts, and it is still a feature of fencing sabers and of swords of historic form worn with full dress uniforms. 

  • Langet

In staff weapons, the langet consisted of an iron strap, usually straight but sometimes zigzag shape, extending from the socket down the wooden part of the shaft and attached to it by nails or screws. There were usually two langets, in line either with the cutting edges or with the flat faces of the head. They carried out the dual task of increasing the strength of the attachment of the head to the staff and of protecting the most exposed part from blows.

In hafted combat weapons, therefore, the other two sides of the wood were sometimes protected by “false langets,” with one end fitted into the socket or into a square ring under the socket, thus protecting the other two sides of the wooden staff. In sabers, and less often, in other swords, the langets are extensions of the cross guard going symmetrically from its center into the grip and over the shoulder of the blade, on both faces of the blade.

In most cases, there is a small space between the blade and langets, which tightly fit the locket of the mouth of the scabbard, thus preventing an accidental unsheathing. There is a possibility that strong langets were also used by experienced swordsmen to stop and catch an opponent’s blade at a sliding lateral strike.

  • Overall Length (OL)

A unit of measurement representing the complete length of a weapon from tip to end.

  • Pas D’ane

A term of French origin, used fairly widely but incorrectly since the 19th century to describe the arms of the hilt. In the 17th century, it was used to describe one of the oval shells forming the sword guard. 

  • Point

A term referring to the sharp tip or end of a sword blade at the opposite end of the hilt.

  • Pommel

The end of the grip in swords and daggers, which served either to give a better hold on the weapon or to balance it. 

  • Port or Side Ring

Also called ring guard or port, a part of the guard of swords and daggers for protecting the hand during parrying actions, first seen in the 15th century and particularly widely used in the 16th and 17th centuries. The side ring was positioned at the center of the cross guard, at right angles to the blade. It was made of a solid piece of steel welded or brazed to the cross guard and was sometimes fitted, for additional protection of the fingers, with an openwork metal plate.

Occasionally a smaller side ring was placed inside another, both meeting at the cross guard. In other types, one side ring projected from the cross guard and the other from below it, both being linked by the arms of the hilt. The latter construction is frequently found on rapiers and two-handed swords.

  • Quillon (or Quillon)

An extended cross guard of swords and daggers designed in the 16th century to parry or entangle the opponent’s blade. The quillons extended from a base, the quillon block, below the grip, and were either straight, recurved in S-Form, or bent toward the blade (especially in parrying daggers). In some types of hilts the forward quillon was curved toward the pommel, serving as a knuckle-guard.

  • Quillon Block (or Quillon Block)

Part of the guard of edged weapons consisting of a small block of metal with the tang passing through it, acting as a support for the shoulder of the blade and the base of the cross guard. This feature was absent throughout most of the Bronze Age, appearing in antiquity as an intermediate element between the grip and the blade, being slightly broader than the latter. With the appearance of quillons and other elements of the guard, its form and function became more defined; in fact, the quillons extended from it, as did the knuckleguard and the arms of the hilt. The quillon block was also called the ecusson. 

  • Ricasso

The unsharpend section of the blade near the hilt and usually within the guards in front of the quillons. One purpose of the ricasso was to allow a user to curl a finger over a quillon, allowing for better point control. Often times, longer swords would have an extended ricasso, allowing the gripping of an entire hand onto the blade past the cross guard for more leverage.

  • Scabbard

A rigid sheath made of wood, metal, or leather-often cuir-bouilli (hardened leather)—used to enclose and carry the blade of an edged weapon, both to protect the wearer and to keep the blade clean and sound. In the protohistoric period, it was often made with plaques of cast bronze; later it was made with small wooden plaques that were covered with leather or fabric and then fitted with bindings and metal mounts.

The edged weapon has always been something of a status symbol, and the scabbard was therefore of great importance to keep the weapon in good order. The ways in which scabbards have been made down the ages vary a great deal, but they have been generally simple for weapons of war, and richly decorated and ornate for weapons carried by leaders and royalty, and for presentation and ceremonial weapons. 

  • Shell Guard

A type of the sword guard, often round or oval in shape. It appeared in the early 17th century and was used in various swords, such as the Pappenheimer or the Walloon sword. By 1630 it had assumed the hemispherical shape and was widely used in Spanish and Italian swords. Shell guards were also fitted to smallswords and to various hunting and naval weapons.

  • Tang

The stem of the blade, which extends into the handle and serves to attach the hilt. Its form varies depending on the system that joins the handle to the blade. If pointed, the tang is driven in like a nail, a very simple system still used for tool handles (e.g., files, chisels, etc.). In order to achieve a stronger join, the tang is usually shaped like a tapering cylinder that slightly exceeds the length of the handle and is peened onto the pommel or button. In the 19th century the end of the tang was often threaded, and the button was screwed onto it.

  • Terzo

The middle section of a blade, between the forte and the foible. 

  • Turk’s Head

A modern nickname for rings made of twisted-wire braid sometimes used to finish off both ends of the grip of swords and daggers. It is so called because of its resemblance to a turban, a type of headdress typical of some Moslem peoples.

  • Wire-wrap

A form of covering and finishing the grip of a weapon, consisting of twisted or braided wire spun round the handle. Often the wire was of alternating types (iron, bronze, copper, etc.) or alternating patterns (twisted clockwise, counter-clockwise, straight, etc.), forming complex visual patterns. Wire wrapping was employed both to increase the security of a weapon’s grip as well as of a means of decoration. 

Source: All contents © Copyright 2003-2012 myArmoury.com




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