Busy, Busy (New, Improved, with SWORDS!)
December 11, 2010

It's been busy around the Red Monkey homestead the past couple of weeks. Besides the big Plants Vs Zombies project, I've been sick for the last week. Our choir's cantata has final rehearsal later this morning and then the performances are tomorrow morning and tomorrow evening. Plus, our neighborhood has a big to-do today as well.

And, while this is not a review blog, this is something of a review post. In my own, story-telling, rambling-but-focused kind of way.

Once upon a time, I used to LARP. For the non-nerds, that's not only Dungeons & Dragons style role-playing, it's "Live Action Role Playing." (I find as I get older I have to add the D&D reference or people think I'm talking about a totally different kind of role-playing and sword takes on a really disturbing meaning.)

My next-door neighbor, Jim, started a chapter of NERO (New England Role-playing Organization) at our college back in the early 90s. We used PVC pipe as the core for our swords and covered them with relatively thick pipe insulation, added some open-cell foam for a tip and used duct tape to both adhere everything together safely - and add a bit of colour. That's when I first learned you could buy duct tape in multiple, happy colours.

At any rate, yes, we'd dress up as our characters and go out to a park and have fun. Jim and the people who helped found the group in our area were quite excellent at getting good storylines set up and amazingly, we had a wonderful group of people to help build these stories. A good LARP group is part improvisational theatre, large part nerd and mostly people who remember what it's like to find wonder and joy in the world of make-believe.

The group, in short, was a delight.

Since moving away from there, I've not found another group like them, but being a geek, I do still keep my eye out for similar groups ... and equipment.

And that's how I discovered Calimacil.

Calimicil's Templar SwordA few months ago, I bought one of their swords because I'd been eyeing it for about two years ... a foam sword I could horse around with, go to Renn Faires without having to bind it, etc etc. To me, this is far more fun than a metal, bladed sword that I must always be careful with and can never forget it's a frigging weapon. Now, fencing swords - that's different again, that's a sport where you get to use the things. But the buying of a display katana or broadsword just to hang on your wall confuses me.

At any rate, I bought this sword a few months back and LOVE it. First of all, this is no kids' Nerf sword. This is no lightweight, torn up in two days kinda toy. It's got some serious heft to it. I originally found it somewhere else, unfortunately, and was a little bit in trouble once it arrived.

You see, my partner has an allergy to latex.

Oops. Most foam-y things have latex in them, including those fancy memory-foam beds and pillows. And a lot of foam swords.

However! I finally discovered Calimacil's website and was saved - these swords are latex-free! WOOHOO!

This meant I could begin conning other half into picking out a sword for her so we could play.

I also discovered @calimacil on Twitter and began gleefully following. I combed through their site, watching some of the videos showing how tough these swords are, reading about how to repair in case of damage, etc, etc. In short, I was totally geeking out on this stuff.

And then they tweeted that they'd uploaded a new sword test. I watched the vid:

And replied: I need this job RT @Calimacil I uploaded a YouTube video -- Calimacil Rapier Test http://youtu.be/wL7mCgsZT9o?a
[note that's the same link as to the embedded video above]

And they started replying. After much back and forth and honestly delightful conversation in which I came off as ridiculously earnest and terribly fanboy (and therefore I won't repeat), something truly delightful happened. The long and short of it is, they shipped me a sword for review here on the blog! I gave them a list of the various things on their site that I was interested in for them to pick something and ship it to me. Quite by happenstance, they sent the very sword that my partner was hoping for.

Originally, she thought I'd have to buy a short sword in order to spar with her because her sword is shorter than mine and I have longer arms. After the arrival of the sword, however, I think we'll be relatively evenly matched. Her sword is much lighter since mine is a bastard sword.

We've done a little monkeying around so far, but my in-depth review will have to wait until next weekend, unfortunately. Calimacil is located in Canada, and customs takes forever to clear, which meant the sword arrived this week ... which is honestly my insanely overloaded week. So, next weekend, look for a specific review of the falchion they sent.

Meanwhile, if you've got an overgrown nerd in your life, please go give a look at Calimacil's website. They might seem pricey if you're not into this sort of playing around, but I promise you, it's because it's QUALITY stuff. Watch a couple of the videos where they twist the blade or flip the quillon around - you'll see what I mean. I'd like to give them more than a little love for how nice they've been to me. I know I'll be ordering more from them (I'm really intrigued by the bow and arrows).

Full Disclosure: They sent me a sword in exchange for me writing some kind of post on my blog. They didn't tell me what to say, give me a timeline, word count or try to influence my opinion. I'm geeked about it and writing exactly what I feel about not only the sword they sent, but their site and other items in the product line that I paid for.

Posted by Red Monkey at December 11, 2010 7:49 AM | People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

 

flygresor said:

This is a good workout or stress-reliever!
Cool idea for parties too. It's made for fun!

December 12, 2010 9:18 AM

 

Arronis said:

Oh you get to review the falchion! I personely got one and I can tell you that it's the best frickin' sword I ever used since I began larping! Great choice, you won't be disapointed!

December 13, 2010 10:08 AM

Very cool! I'll have to check out their website. I've never LARPed (was more into MUDs and then MMOs later), but I still like to look at all that stuff.

December 16, 2010 3:06 PM
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