Projects and Website Updates: February 1 2022

2021 was the most active year of my life. I discussed this in the November 2021 Update. As you can see from the Archive, I did not post much that year. Most of the time that I spent writing was dedicated to writing e-mails to Brian (also known as Arian). This has been true since we met in August 2020. However, in 2020 I posted most of our e-mails, whereas in 2021 I only updated the pdf of all of his e-mails to me.

The Need for Completeness
For the last few months, I've had intentions to post, but I clearly have not done so many times. In the last month, I finally have taken a critical look at why. In emotional terms, the lack of posting has to do with guilt and overwhelm. The most essential desire I have is to convey the truth in completeness. When I look at the contents of my website thus far, I cannot deny that I feel some anxiety. I get concerned that there is too much potential for confusion, overwhelm, or being misguided. Moreover, I feel badly that I have not painted a complete picture in a very clear and concise manner.

I realized that one aspect of the problem is the way the information on is presented. The main Archive is nothing more than a list of all articles in order from newest to oldest. Likewise, the Brian Harner Archive is organized by the type of content, such as Audio, Articles, and E-mails. I do have a number of Category Archives listed on the sidebar, but they are woefully out of date, and not necessarily substantial and relevant anyway.

I've accepted that in order to move on and interface with the public again, I will have to try my best to present a complete picture of what it takes to attain equilibrium. I'm inclined to wish that I could create an image which would show it all and make it all clear, but I'm not ready to do that yet. A more realistic goal, which I have begun work on, is to create an outline of what is needed, and present this on a single webpage. This way, all of the essential information is gathered in one place, with no extraneous clutter. At this point, instead of elaborating on what I might do, I will get to work and keep you posted on what I actually do.

I will continue to update the Archive and Brian Harner Archive as applicable. I think it is important to have both these time-based logs of our journey, as well as timeless information that is organized by topic.

Progress on the Holy Grail
I don't want to give the impression that all has been in the dark. Though I did not do much in the public eye in 2021, there was plenty of progress in the private sphere. I went from being someone who never appeared to be mechanically inclined, to gaining basic competence in machining and several related skills. I also have gained a contact list of people helpful to this mission, all in varying capacities. So far, no one has consciously chosen to assist this mission, but I still would not have made it this far without them, and there is a lot of potential. Plus, Arian continued to relay helpful information to me throughout the year.

In fact, Arian recently took on a rather ambitious project. He has spent the last month describing the lost wax method for producing a holy grail. I call it “ambitious” because he has not actually implemented these instructions himself yet: when he built a grail, he used the lost foam method. Not only that, but the grail is a rather unique object, and requires techniques which are different from those used for most lost wax castings. So he did his best to conduct relevant research (difficult since there are no grails in existence yet) and study the matter based on his own knowledge of casting. He produced a clear set of instructions which include helpful technical drawings. I'm looking forward to sharing a guide to the lost wax method of casting a holy grail, presumably in the near future.

What led Arian to tell me about the lost wax method at this particular point in time? In November 2021, after slowly gathering materials throughout the year, I began work on my own foam grail blank. In the videos Arian produced, you can see that the blank consists of 12 foam plates, all of which have a starting/stock size of at least 12 inches in diameter. I made it to plate 5. Things went rather smoothly unitl the last time I worked on it, which I refer to as, “The Night of All Destruction.” I turned down the wall thickness too far on plate 4, made several other errors I've seemingly blocked out of my memory for the moment, and then ended the night by exerting too much pressure on the blank while boring the center with a chisel, which caused the foam blank to separate from its wooden base. I then used a tremendous amount of hot glue to reconnect the foam to the wood, only to find and eventually accept that the blank was off-center.

Several weeks later, on January 5 2022, I was ready to work on the grail again and attempt to correct my mistakes as much as possible. Just before I began work, however, I had a feeling that I should take a break from the lost foam method for the time being. I internally debated, considering that I was just looking for an excuse to be lazy. But I have found that work on the grail goes most smoothly when I am in a state of flow, as opposed to pushing myself to, “get things done.” Since the grail is a special project, I think it deserves full presence of mind and patience as opposed to anxiousness and haste. So, I decided to go along with the idea of taking a break, and shifted my focus to another project: the Di Pietro engine.

When I told Arian about my decision, he supported it and began the task of explaining the lost wax method. Almost a month later, we finally are close to completing that discussion. I cannot say when I will begin work on a lost wax grail blank, because it ought to be produced in the same location as the foundry, and I have not constructed a suitable foundry yet. In contrast, the foam grail blank is much easier to transport. So, I did all of the work on the foam blank at the Rochester Makerspace, and intended on driving the completed blank home in my car (over 100 miles) when it was time. I did in fact take the incomplete blank home: I placed it inside of two garbage bags, and then set it down on the back seat during the drive. The grail survived the trip unscathed. The back seat is not ideal since the blank can fly forward if I have to make a sudden stop, but I decided this was best due to all of the other things I had in the car that day.

I have been served a lot of surprises already in 2022: the change in the grail project is one of them. I also lost most of my hours at my job, and have undergone other things which I will keep to myself and those close to me for now. The search and decision-making process for a new job has admittedly taken up a lot of my time. The logical hope is that I will have more stability once I have regular employment again. However, I know better than to hope for things such as regimentation and routine: that is just not the way my life has gone. Things happen when it is time for them, whether it is time to write an article, work on a project, or talk to a person. Routine holds the promise of regular progress, but it also overshadows presence.

To make the point clear, here are some of the writing projects I would like to complete this year (but I don't know what I'll actually produce until the time comes):
-Guides on the lost foam and lost wax methods of building a holy grail
-Guide on building a Di pietro engine
-Articles detailing some of the smaller machining projects I've worked on.
-Outline of what is needed to achieve equilibrium. This will also serve as the outline for a book on the subject (which I first announced in March 2021).
-Other things-- the spiritual side of the journey. This is could be the most important, since it conveys the “why” of working towards equilibrium, and not just the “how.” Of course, this was the main point of discussion between Arian and myself in 2020, which you can see in the posts from that year. Since March 2021, we have been far more focused on technical matters (but not exclusively so, since the spiritual side is always relevant).

I realize that, especially these days, people find videos more compelling than written articles. For the sake of accessibility, clarity, precision, and thoroughness, I find it necessary to put a lot of this work into writing, including the above list of writing projects. When I write about technical projects, I will strive to provide as many pictures as could be helpful. I think it would be ideal to make videos, especially to show production processes. However, I haven't yet reached a point of sufficient clarity and necessity for doing so.

I apologize for any questions that may have gone unanswered up to this point. The last year and a half has been rather fast-paced and full of new experiences. In 2022, I will strive to bring a higher level of organization and order to this mission. Of course, I am ultimately not in control, so it is not my place to say how things will actually go. I can only stay present to circumstances, decide on the proper course of action, and do my best.