30 November 2007

Not much going on tonight, as there was yet more overtime at work. Winter is supposed to be the slow time in the freight industry, but that only seems to apply to the part-time workers. With bad weather starting to delay trailers, the full-time workers end up staying late to work on the late-arriving trailers. It's good for the pocketbook, I suppose.
Tomorrow I will probably wind up running errands, so I don't anticipate getting any painting done. I've moved the remaining Moria Goblins to my desk in preparation for painting them. I had originally intended to paint the Cave Troll, but he's going to require some assembly and sculpting work that I don't feel like doing. Better to stick with the things I'm motivated for than to get bogged down with a task I don't feel like doing. I need to get the electric fence set up as well. Buddy has been doing very well for a couple of months now, so we'd put off putting the electric fence in the yard. He's been getting into mischief again over the last few days, so I can't put it off any longer.

29 November 2007

I've finally finished off the basic warrior models for my Moria force. There are eight goblins with sword and shield, eight with spear, and eight archers. I only have thirteen more figures to paint before my 500-point force is done.

I put together the Tortoise Table tonight, and it certainly dominates the middle of the living room. I probably should have waited to build it until I'd cleared out the spot I plan to put it in. But my tendency is to get overexcited about whatever my next big idea is and tuck in to it before I really have the time/money/space for it. So we've got a huge table in the middle of the living room and no place to put it as of yet. At least it has evolved somewhat from being just a pile of wood on the floor.
I think all I have left on the Moria Goblins is a couple of highlights and the ends of the archer's arrows. I'll probably finish them tonight, but first I think I have a couple of scores to settle in the land of Magic: the Gathering.

27 November 2007

I have scattered wood, tools, and sawdust all over the living room and the Tortoise Table is probably 35% complete. I imagine my wife will be so happy to see the state her house is in when she arrives home after work. "Oh boy!" she will say, "This frame leaning on the couch blocks all access to my knitting supplies! I sure hope I get a splinter in my hand when I try to move it! And the floor is so muddy, I sure hope Chris had fun stomping around in his work boots!" I suppose I have some cleaning up to do. The Moria Goblins are almost done. I don't think the neighbors want to hear my circular saw going at one in the morning, so I'll probably do some quiet painting tonight after work and hopefully post some pictures.

26 November 2007

Not a very eventful day today. We spent most of it running errands and dreading the prospect of going back to work tomorrow after the long weekend. We did have quite a time at Home Depot, picking up lumber, hardware, and tools. I even replaced the showerhead in our bathroom, as the old one wasn't up to snuff. Tomorrow I should be able to start work on my table; hopefully I'll at least have all the boards cut before I go to work. In my free time I was able to make a lot more progress on the Moria Goblins. If I hurry I could probably have them finished before bed tonight.

cash advance

Cash Advance Loans

25 November 2007

My wife and I travelled to Utah for the holiday weekend. On the way there we stopped in Pocatello to see my middle sister and her husband, as they have a new house that we wanted to check out. It's a pretty nice place and we had a good visit with them.

We ate Thanksgiving dinner with my wife's brother and his in-laws. The food was good and we saw our niece for the first time. She's four months old, I think. They warned us that she's not too keen on guys, but after a few minutes of holding her she snuggled into my shoulder and went to sleep. It appears that my uncle powers are still working. She's a cute kid. We also played Apples to Apples, a card game by Out of the Box Publishing. You can see a video of how the game works at the link in the last sentence. I won't brag about who was the champion of the evening, but the Force was definitely with him.

I'd never done the shopping on the day after Thanksgiving thing before, but faced with the prospect of sitting around doing nothing while my wife went to Jo-Ann Fabrics with the girls, I decided to brave the crowds and go with her. I'm lucky I did, as there was a 50% off sale on plastic storage bins and I picked up several sets of these modular stacking bins from Snapware. As soon as my camera battery charges I'll post pictures of my Skaven army, which fits very well into two of the boxes. Even the Warhammer Slave Giant fits into the box with a bit of headroom. My wife is lucky that I came along with her as we left around 11:20. The other family members were waiting in the fabric-cutting line and didn't get out of the store until 4:30.
After we got out of there we hit up the Dragon's Keep game store and I got some Magic cards, some frivolous accessories, and the Warhammer Siege book which I believe is outdated (but it was a steal at $0.99). We also visited the Crazzy Canuck, where my wife got some Canadian candy to try out. At some point we went to Home Depot and I selected a few power tools that I need for the Tortoise Table I'm building tomorrow.
After checking into the motel, we decided to try out The Living Planet Aquarium and see what they had to look at. We both love animals so we try to go see nature exhibits whenever we can, although we still haven't been to the Boise Zoo or the Birds of Prey Center here in Idaho. The aquarium is fairly small, but there were some pretty neat animals there. I think the highlight for us was the Giant Pacific Octopus, which was very large and fun to watch. The Moray Eels and Stingrays were pretty fun as well.
After visiting the aquarium we were in the mood to eat some seafood, so went out to eat and each ordered a platter with lobster, prawns, and shrimp.
On TV we saw an episode of Man vs. Wild, a survival show on the Discovery Channel in which a guy named Bear Grylls strands himself in dangeroue survival situations and extracts himself from them. While there are articles stating that some parts of the show are not as real as they are made out to be, it still makes for some good watching and was almost enough to convince us to start up a satellite or cable television service. I'd recommend checking it out.
On Saturday morning we headed out to see Mike, Jamie, and their son Vessel. I knew Jamie in high school and we've kept in touch since then, but aside from that none of us had ever met in real life. Luckily there was no Battle Royale and we all got along without any sort of fisticuffs. We went out for pizza and talked about life and stuff. All too soon it was time to go and we got on the road for home.
Today we picked up our dogs from the kennel and they smelled awful, like they had been rolling in something terrible for four days, probably something that was not far from the truth. We had to bathe them when we got home, which is always an experience. They were tired from the vacation, so they've been asleep all day.
All in all it was a pretty good trip. It was nice to spend several days in a row with my wife, as we don't see each other all that much since we work different shifts. It was good to see my sister's new house and see the new niece on my wife's side of the family. And it was nice to see Jamie and meet her husband and their son. Now it's back to the grindstone.
As promised, I am posting a photo of the storage bins I bought this weekend as well as some other photos that I found on my memory card. This first picture is of my dog sleeping on the couch. I realize that this is the equivalent of showing random people photos of grandchildren they'll never meet, but I posted it anyway.
And here is the storage bin that contains my Skaven army. You can see the Giant in the upper left portion of the photo. The top section contains mostly units in movement trays, and the bottom section has a bunch of dividers in it to separate the various skirmisher units. These trays are a lot more handy than the trading card boxes I had been using.

And this is just a photo of some of the Goblins next to a penny to give a sense of the scale I'm working with on these figures. Mike and Jamie had asked me a little bit about the hobby and I couldn't recall if I'd done any comparison photos since they started reading my blog, so I threw this in because a picture explains it a little more easily than I can.

That's about it for me tonight. I've got the bulk of the time-consuming stuff painted on the remaining minis from this batch, but I need to take a break and make up a list of things I need for my big project tomorrow.

I had a decent week in Fantasy Football. The Monday game doesn't really have much effect on my games, so I'm exiting the week with a 3-1 record and an overall record of 32-16 (10-2, 8-4, 7-5, 7-5). It seems like whenever the Broncos win I have a terrible week in Fantasy Football, and whenever they lose I do pretty well. This week they lost, which puts them in a tight spot. I don't know if they'll make the playoffs this year. They just can't finish games. It's very sad.
My sister has caught the Magic bug, so I have another opponent to play against. I doubt if I'll be able to get into a game store and play in tournaments because of my work schedule, but I have plenty of competition between my sister and her husband.
I was able to get a little more work done on the Moria Goblins tonight, and once I'm done posting my vacation report I'll probably get back to that.
We're home from our vacation. I'll probably post a full update sometime tomorrow.

21 November 2007

As usual, whenever I have particularly ambitious plans for the evening, there is overtime at work and I arrive home too tired to do much of anything. It is unfortunate. I hope I can wake up tomorrow in time to finish the Moria Goblins before work, as we leave for our trip on Thursday morning, then I will be caught up in building a Tortoise Table, and after that it will be drill weekend. I also have various items of homework to attend to. I would hate to have to wait for two-plus weeks to finish these Goblins, especially since I took so long to finish the first batch. I suppose we'll see what happens.

20 November 2007

Another trip to the dentist today, and another three fillings. That should be all the dental work I need for the time being, so that's nice. Today when the dentist hit me with the anesthetic he missed or something, because when he started drilling it hurt so much I wanted to jump out of the chair and challenge him to fisticuffs. The second time around he must've got it in the right place and then some, as I couldn't feel anything in my mouth for several hours.
I've started work on the last 14 regular Moria Goblin Warriors. I'm saving the character models and the Cave Troll for last. I also still need to get my hands on seven Moria Goblin Prowlers to complete my 500-point list. Now that I've got a method down for painting these guys, the rest of the warband should go together well. At some point I'll get my Uruk-Hai and Mordor Orcs in the mail and start in on a couple of warbands to do battle against these Goblins. I suppose I could paint up the Fellowship miniatures from the starter set, but they don't excite me as much as the other Lord of the Rings miniatures. Except for Gimli, of course.
My Fantasy Football teams went 3-1 this week, to bring my total record to 29-15 (9-2, 7-4, 7-4, 6-5). With this week's games all of my teams are in playoff spots, but need to hold on for a couple more weeks to ensure that they keep those slots. Denver won tonight and pulled into a tie with San Diego for the top spot in their division. San Diego holds the tiebreaker, so Denver really needs to keep playing like they have the last two weeks and hopefully make the playoffs. I don't really see any team besides New England winning the Super Bowl this year, but I'll be happy if Denver can get into the playoffs.
I have an interesting project planned for the week after Thanksgiving. I'm going to build a Tortoise Table. For my birthday I'm getting a couple of Russian Tortoises, so I'm going to have a go at building them a habitat. Hopefully I'll have pictures of that to post at some point in the near future.
And over on the Wyrd Miniatures forums is this post, which I will quote here:
"After 12 months of constant doctors and testing, they have finally decided to give my two-year-old son hearing aids. With a consistent vocabulary of only three words, hearings aids are essential so that he can finally acquire language. The downside is that after a year of expensive tests and doctors, he'll need one in each ear and his insurance will not cover a cent.
To help defray the *massive* expense of the hearing aids, both Ann and I will be clearing out the majority of our miniature collections. We are starting with the painted miniatures and the still-sealed miniatures. Over the next few weeks, we'll be adding lots of loose, packaged, unidentified, old and in general, lots of miniatures. I will add items onto ebay as fast as we sort them. Items can be viewed here."
I think they need $5000 for the hearing aids, and the auctions are pretty reasonably priced. There are some Games Workshop, a whole lot of Reaper figures, a bunch of figures from Hasslefree, and plenty of figures from several other manufacturers. I ordered several packs of Mordheim minis, and have my eye on a few of the Reaper sculpts as well. If you need to buy something to feed your lead addiction, you could do a lot worse than buying some discounted miniatures to help a kid get his ears working properly.
I think that's all the news I've got for today.

19 November 2007

I've finished up the first ten Moria Goblins. They look decent, especially from tabletop distances. Now I suppose it's on to the next ten.

16 November 2007

One of the kids who my brother-in-law works with helped him organize his deck, and there are rumors that he has even won a game with the new arrangement. It sounds like we'll be duking it out this weekend. No mini painting tonight as I did my grocery shopping for the week and went to eat at the all-night cafe with my sister and her baby. I am itching to pull out the paintbrush, so I'll probably be rushing through my homework tomorrow morning in an effort to free up some time for painting.

15 November 2007

Collectibles or Game Pieces?

I've found that my perceptions of Magic cards have changed with this most recent foray into the game. In the past I had no real opponents to play with, so I viewed the cards more as collectibles than as actual pieces for playing a game. I was more concerned with set numbers, rarity, and values than with the rules printed on the cards. The decks I constructed followed this line of thought, as I focused more on using my rare cards than on actual playability. With my new interest in the game I still notice these things, but I have found myself paying more attention to the rules printed on the cards and the ways they interact with each other. I am also less driven to purchase more and more cards simply as a means of building a collection. I suppose I am more focused on simply building my deck with whatever cards I have on hand. Yes, I would love to buy more cards in order to have an increase in my choices, but I am not driven by a need to collect as an end in itself. For me it is a major change in perception, as most of my gaming collections have been fueled by this collector mentality, Heroclix in particular.
I have actually spent most of my time thinking about my brother-in-law's deck. When I put my deck together I took out a lot of the complicated cards and focused on simple cards that are mostly played during the main phase in the game, either as creatures or as equipment for those creatures. Green and Black cards seem particularly well-suited to this style of play. My brother-in-law's focus on Blue/White cards has potential to be effective, but I think it involves more finesse to use effectively. I don't think his deck as it stands now has the card mix to be balanced. It always seems like he can either keep my creatures off the table but not attack, or he can only play smaller creatures that eventually will be unable to block all of my creatures. It is a perplexing problem. Most of the internet sites I've found so far talk of game-ending combinations of cards that require no skill, rather they depend on the luck of a player drawing and playing a certain unblockable combination of cards at some point in the game. This seems to me a sort of cheap power-gaming that has no place in casual friendly play, which should focus on the social aspects of the game as well as sportsmanship and smart play. That is why I am so focused on finding a solution for my opponent's deck, as I feel I am winning only because I have a fairly balanced deck and not because of any sort of superior play on my part. Maybe this weekend we will have some time to sit down and work through our various cards to come up with a balanced Blue/White deck that has a specific set of goals in mind for various stages of a game.
I typed up a post last night but Blogger had an error and ate it. I found some time to work on the Moria Goblins last night, and they are starting to look all right. The people who wanted my 300ZX came and picked it up today, which is good as the trailer park managers were threatening to tow it away as I had taken the license plates off in anticipation of the sale. They don't have the courage to talk to the tenants so they communicate by taping yellow signs to your car or your house. At least they moved to a bigger house near the entrance recently, so we don't see them very often anymore. Anyway, now we've got our Thanksgiving vacation paid for and that's a good thing.
El Grego commented on my ACW project, which is mostly just an idea right now. Last night I thought a bit about figure ratios as the sheer number of troops involved in these battles is mind-boggling, especially when I have previously focused so much attention on skirmish-level games in which 1 figure equals one man on the battlefield. For ACW to be practical I may have to move to ratios like 1:20 or 1:100.

13 November 2007

My Fantasy Football teams played very poorly this week, but I was able to at least split my games at 2-2 to bring my season record to 26-14 (8-2, 7-3, 6-4, 5-5). I should have lost all four games for the week, but my opponents forgot to set their lineups and ended up using players who were on a bye week against me. They were embarrassing victories, but at least I won a couple of games. I won one of them 61-58 and the other 66.55-60.05. Not a great week for me, and it looks like my players are getting ready for their playoff slump already. The good news is that 3 of my four teams are still clinging to playoff spots and the 5-5 team is still only one slot out of playoff contention. The other good news is that the Denver Broncos were able to win a game this week and they actually looked all right doing it. Jason Elam didn't have to kick a last-second field goal to save them this time.
In Fantasy Basketball I'm doing fairly well, but with most of my focus on football at the moment I have neglected my teams a fair bit. I should still do well, though, and I am happy that the Houston Rockets are at least momentarily living up to my expectations. They beat the San Antionio Spurs recently and for now look like championship contenders. That's something that hasn't happened for a long time.
I haven't done any painting recently as I spent most of the weekend with my wife. I also rediscovered an old hobby of mine. My brother-in-law asked me if I knew anything about Magic: the Gathering, as he works with troubled youth and they play the game quite a bit in their free time. I've been in and out of Trading Card Games since the mid-90s so I have a general idea about the game, but I'm not extremely familiar with the mechanics and which sets are current at the moment. We picked up a couple of themed decks and some boosters and played a couple of games today. When I was younger I was never really able to comprehend all of the rules and the way things work in the game, but we were able to get most of it worked out in our two games. Tonight I had a Green/Black deck with a lot of nasty creatures. His Blue/Red deck was able to keep my cards off the table, but he couldn't draw any strong spells or creatures to knock me out so we went through a lot of turns of me playing a big creature, him returning it to my hand, and so on and so forth. I was eventually able to knock him out, but if he had had more offensive power he would've taken me out much earlier in the game. I don't think either of us is ready to be hardcore or anything, but as a casual game it's pretty fun. Now I just need to get in and build my World of Warcraft Hunter deck.

09 November 2007

Upon realizing that I use up a lot of free moments habitually visiting the same web sites over and over, I used the scheduling feature on my Blackberry to set up a general schedule of events for each day of the week. The tasks are modular in nature, so I can pull out a couple of time slots if I have an appointment or a pressing need, but it basically ensures that I will spend a few hours each weekday doing important things like homework. I have left most of my weekend time open, so as to be free when my wife and I are both home together. Hopefully having some organization in my life will allow me to do more of the things I have planned, but just don't find the time for. I figure I'll give it a couple of weeks and see how things go.

Patrick McManus is coming to the Hastings store in Boise next Tuesday to sign his new book, Kerplunk! I won't be able to make it because of my work schedule, but I think my wife is going to go and get the book for me. I don't think my wife has read any of his work, which is a situation I hope to change. His stories are laugh-out-loud funny and I'm pretty excited that he's coming to town.
Due to the schedule restructuring I didn't work on the Moria Goblins this morning, but I have time reserved at night before I go to bed for hobbies. I'm planning on working on them tonight, hopefully to finish up weapons and remaining clothing. Then I'll paint hair and faces and be done with this batch.

08 November 2007

Even though I had to make a trip to the DMV today, I was able to put in a solid hour of work on the first batch of Moria Goblins and finish up their armor. It looks pretty messy at the moment as I drybrushed the Boltgun Metal color on and went outside the lines everywhere. Once I clean it all up and paint the details in they'll look a lot better. Hopefully I'll be able to finish these guys up tonight or tomorrow before work and check off ten more boxes on my little checklist sheet.

My wife was able to bring home a large portion of the apple pie she made the other day, so I've been enjoying that. Probably the best thing I ever did was marry a girl whose cooking skills are exceptional.
The DMV is located next to the bookstore, so I stopped in to have a look around the used books and found a book on Irish-American Gangsters that was on my wish list. That was pretty cool. I also found a general history of the American Civil War with some nice-looking battle maps in it. Hopefully I will find a battle inside that I'd like to do more research on and build up some miniature forces to try my hand at Civil War generalship.

07 November 2007

Here's a little shot of my "motivational corner." It basically consists of minis I'm proud of or minis that I don't have any place to store at the moment, but the purpose of having some finished minis out on the table is to act as a motivator to paint more of them.

I am still plugging away at the Moria Goblins. At the moment I'm working on a basecoat for the armored parts. I'm considering breaking them up into groups of ten and finishing them out in that manner. Doing a single step at a time on thirty figures gets to be too boring and I find my break time winds up being longer than my actual painting time. The armor looks pretty shiny and brown at the moment, but I'll be adding some rust and corrosion effects to tone it down quite a bit. So I'll try finishing the ten that I've got armor basecoats on and see if that goes a little easier.

I think I found a buyer for my 300ZX. He came and looked at it today, so that should be nice. I'm not selling it for a whole lot but it'll at least take some pressure off of us so we can enjoy our trip to Utah at the end of the month without me complaining about money the whole time, as is my habit when traveling. We're planning on seeing my wife's brother and his family while we're down there. They've got a new daughter that we've never met, so my wife is excited about that. We'll probably spend a couple of hours with my friend Jamie and her family as well. And I may look up one of my old missionary companions from my days in San Diego, if I get the chance. It should be a decent break from working, but I wonder if I'll spend any time wishing I was back home painting with all that time off?
I've been bitten by a new bug in the miniature wargaming world. I've begun looking at the various small-scale ACW (American Civil War) figures, either the 6mm Baccus minis or the 10mm GHQ models. It would be my first real attempt at larger-scale gaming, meaning figure ratios greater than 1:1. I've always had some interest in the ACW, probably dating back to a giant book of Civil War pictures that my dad had and the trips we made to various battlefields in my youth. I think what I'd like to do is read some history, choose a battle, paint up the units that participated, build a general representation of the terrain, and fight it out. From there I could decide if I wanted to do more. It seems to be an easier period to get into than WWII simply because of the smaller scope of equipment and geography that is represented. Anyway, I've been looking at that a little bit. My first interest in wargaming was historicals, but I have yet to actually paint anything historical. The closest I've come is my pirate figures, but they are semi-historical Hollywood figures at best.

06 November 2007

My wife made an apple pie but I am under strict orders to stay away from it, as it is intended to be taken to work tomorrow for a work party. I have been trying to devise a way for the pie to be accidentally disturbed in such a way that a piece of it falls onto a plate and gets eaten by me, but so far I haven't come up with anything plausible.
This morning I made a little progress on the Moria Goblins. If I keep at it for a couple of days I should be able to finish the whole lot off by the end of the week. For me it would be a serious morale boost to get the project done. Then it's on to the forty or so other minis that are cluttering up my desk. From there I can try degunking the messed-up Space Marines in my drawer, the random Orcs and Goblins I've got in another drawer, and the various Warlord minis that I've got stashed in a cardboard box somewhere. Oh, and the two boxes of LOTR Orcs that are in the mail somewhere between Portugal and Idaho at the moment. So I've got around 225 minis in my unpainted pile. If I paint everything that current;y resides on my desktop I'll be just over my Pledge percentage (25% of the lead pile) and theoretically be able to buy more figures without guilt. I am actually shooting for a slightly more lofty percentage, but 25% is the official figure.
Games Workshop has released a limited-edition boxed set containing a full company of Space Marines. Our Hobbytown store got one of them, and I saw it on the shelf yesterday. The box is massive, and even with the $50 discount it still carries a price tag of $400. My real problem with the item is that it contains 9 transport vehicles, which I don't really want. I could probably sell them off on eBay or something to recoup some of the cost of the box, but it seems like a lot of trouble. Of course all of this postulating is worthless as I have no mechanism for actually obtaining this item. We have decided to skip my birthday and probably any major Christmas purchases for at least this holiday season. Between my new phone and my new truck I have probably accounted for several holiday seasons worth of good fortune. But it is certainly fun to window shop at the hobby store.

05 November 2007

My New Ride

Yes, I purchased a truck this week. My old car just wasn't cutting it, and the final straw was it's failure to pass emissions this go around. We'd been thinking about getting me a new ride for a while, as we were recently able to upgrade my wife's vehicle situation and needed to do the same for me. So rather than dumping a bunch of money into my 300ZX, we took the money and went truck shopping. I was looking for a Toyota truck of some sort, but after looking all around locally I couldn't find one that I liked. They all either looked like granny rides, had a million miles on them, or were way out of our price range. While looking at a Toyota at one dealership locally I saw this F-150 on the price sheet, but the salesman was trying too hard to push me into buying something, so I held off and went home to look at other options. A couple days later I went in to look at the Ford again, and after going through all the negotiations and whatnot, took it home. So now I've got a truck. My little brother discovered yesterday that it' even got a 6-disc cd changer, a fact that escaped everyone else as it is tucked away in a cubbyhole by the back seat. So that's a bonus. It's a 1998, which makes it ten years newer than any of my previous vehicles. Sometimes I go out and stare at it or have an impulse to go drive it around for no reason. I've been making up excuses to take various family members on rides so I can show it off. It's rather silly as it is still a ten-year old vehicle, but I really like it.
The wife and I had dentist appointments today, the first time I'd been in several years. I got 3 out of 6 cavities filled, a cleaning, and a replacement half-tooth from a marble fight in my youth. It was capped when it happened but about a year ago the filling broke off and needed replaced. Fun stuff. I have to go back in later this month to get the last three cavities filled. I'm not a big fan of dentists, but at least the folks at this office don't talk to me the whole time they're working.
My Fantasy Football teams went 3-1 this week, moving me to 24-12 (7-2, 7-2, 5-4, 5-4) on the season. The Denver Broncos got destroyed by Detroit this week, making it almost embarrassing to be a Broncos fan. To balance that out, though, the Houston Rockets are off to a 3-0 start in the new NBA season. A couple of basketball magazines have them picked out to win the championship this year. I doubt that will happen, but you never really know.

01 November 2007

I got the local comic shop's weekly newsletter the other day, and one of the specials for the week was the Onyxia's Lair Raid Deck for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game at a 66% discount. So I woke up early and went to the shop to buy one. That was pretty cool. I think my wife and I have enough cards to put together some rudimentary decks for our chosen classes, plus maybe a couple more for other classes. Each raid deck contains a pack of special treasure cards which you're not really supposed to open until you beat the big boss card with your group of players. But I opened ours as soon as I got home and found that almost all of the loot cards were equipment for either Hunters or Druids, which happen to be the characters my wife and I play. So it was a pretty good deal all around.