29 December 2008

I made a little more progress on my Space Marine squad over the weekend. They still need some details and highlights painted in, and I haven't even touched the sprues with their backpacks and weapons yet. I don't know that I'll be able to get them finished before school starts next month as I will be gone most of January doing army stuff. At least I'll have a good starting point when I get some free time again. I still haven't figured out the new camera, so there is some flash and glare in the photos. I tried not using the flash, but the figures wound up being too dark. I probably just need a different lighting setup on my desk. The Terminator is just in the photo as a comparison.

You may notice that the Terminator does not have all the red highlights that the Tactical Marines do. According to the fluff, the Terminator armor belongs to the 1st Company of a Chapter, while I've chosen to have this squad of Tactical Marines be part of the 3rd Company. The colors of 1st Company are traditionally silver/white, which can be seen on the Terminator's little shoulder shield. The color for 3rd Company is red, which can be seen on the shoulder trim and right kneepads of the Tactical Marines. I'll probably continue to build my Marines as members of 3rd Company with proper attachments from 1st Company and 10th Company. The 10th Company is traditionally made up of Scouts and does not have a color, as the Scouts haven't achieved full status with the Chapter and thus don't get their own heraldry. At least that's how I understand it. I am by no means a master of any game system's lore; I'm really just going by what's in the front of the army book.

Not much else to talk about, really. About two months ago I ordered a subscription to White Dwarf. It had been confirmed that the cover price had been raised by $2 per issue and that the price for subscriptions had also been raised, but I noticed that the subscription price on the website hadn't been changed to reflect the price increase. I wondered to myself if Games Workshop would honor the listed price, so I made my order and paid with a credit card through Paypal. The Paypal page for the transaction said "awaiting merchant action" for two months and then out. The Games Workshop order page said "awaiting merchant action," and it still does. I got a confirmation page in the mail from Games Workshop about a week after I made the order. My credit card was never charged. I figured that I had made my order in the limbo between the price change announcement and implementation, so Games Workshop had just ignored it and let it time out. But today I opened the mailbox and found a copy of the January White Dwarf, which I had already purchased at the store in the belief that my subscription had not gone through. The little address block indicates that I have 14 issues left on my subscription. I'm going to contact Games Workshop tomorrow and find out what they want me to do. I'd be happy to pay them their money as I don't want to be a cheat, so we'll see how that goes. And for further reference, if Games Workshop announces a price increase, don't try to beat it with a preemptive order.

27 December 2008

The Ork Stompa photos have started popping up elsewhere on the web, so I'm going to post them here:

The model is rather large and orky, with tons of little gretchin running around on it. I haven't seen any mention of a price point, but I'm assuming it will run somewhere in the $95 price range, similar to the Baneblade and Shadowsword kits. Of course there are plenty of discount retailers on the internet and occasionally locally, so there is no real reason to pay the MSRP on GW models.

26 December 2008

I worked on Space Marines on and off throughout the day. My wife was very awesome and pretty much gave me the whole day to sit around and fiddle with my hobbies. I think she sensed that I'm a bit stressed out about going back to school and soon being the sole breadwinner in the family, as well as a few other things we've got going on throughout the next year. So it was nice to have a day with very few demands aside from putting paint on figures. Due to schedules we will be doing the traditional Christmas stuff at my parents' house tomorrow with all of my siblings and their families, as well as my Grandma. Back to the Space Marine squad, these pictures are rather terrible, but the figures are coming along nicely.

I also got the Games Workshop newsletter in my e-mail today. The newsletter included some pictures of a new Ork Stompa model that will be released in Spring 2009. It is a huge model, the profile for it can be found in the Apocalypse rulebook. I'm not sure that I'll ever have a need for one, but some of those new Super-Heavy plastic kits from GW are pretty neat-looking. I am still pretty excited for the Ork Battlewagon that releases in January and the Stormboyz that release a little later in January. I'd post the pictures of the Stompa here, but I haven't seen them pop up on the web anywhere else yet and don't want to be the first one to get crushed by the cease and desist hammer.

I got in a little bit of World of Warcraft in between painting. I just can't really find the fun in it anymore. I've tried, but the feeling I get is similar the the way I feel when watching TV. I spend much of the time thinking about the other things I could be doing. So I don't think I'll be pumping out the fifteen dollars a month to keep the subscription going after this free trial runs out.

I've also been listening to a couple of podcasts recently. I think I've mentioned them all here on the blog before. First is The D6 Generation, which comes out every two weeks or so and covers a wide range of games, from board games to miniatures and a little bit on the RPG side. The other is 40k Radio, which only covers Warhammer 40k and is possibly slightly less family-friendly than The D6 Generation. 40k Radio is a weekly podcast. For the month of November they spent most of each podcast going over the Tau army list and the various options that one could use for a Tau army.

25 December 2008

I've been slapping some paint on a squad of Black Reach Space Marines. I am moving at a fairly rapid pace compared to my usual standard. I think it's because I actually have the prospect of playing a game in front of me and because I am trying to do a good-enough job rather than really sweat all the little details. I don't want to get bogged down and fail to get my army painted in a timely manner. When they're done they should look something like this:
I've been thinking about the Space Marine army list and codex. The army as laid out in the fluff and game rules seems to be missing a middle level of command. There is a big gap between the NCO squad leaders and the Company Captain. When you build an army you have to take one HQ choice and two troop choices. In choosing your HQ choice you are limited to taking Chapter-level officers or your Company Commander. That means that you're taking at a minimum your Company Commander on every little patrol your unit does. If two squads go out to investigate a blip on the radar they're taking their CO or one of his superiors with them. There needs to be another level of command in there, perhaps 4 Platoon Leaders or Platoon Sergeants. That way in each Battle Company you'd have two leaders each in charge of three Tactical Squads, a leader for the two Devastator Squads, and a leader for the two Assault Squads. The reserve companies might be able to get by with fewer mid-level leaders. I think I will assume that my HQ chooice in low-points games is some sort of mid-level leader who is not represented properly in the fluff. I suppose it's a bit silly to argue about the command structure of a fictional army, but it was on my mind.

Blizzard was offering a free 10-day trial of the new World of Warcraft expansion, so I signed up to see what I'm missing. So far I haven't really been able to get into it at all. Maybe I've finally kicked that particular obsession. I find myself logging off after a few minutes in order to go do other things.

I found a miniature to represent my D & D character. It's from Reaper's Dark Heaven line. It's not perfect but it's about as close as I'm going to find. My main problem with the figure is the horns. They look a bit odd.

Merry Christmas!

23 December 2008

It's too difficult trying to describe people without revealing their names, so I'm going to have to come up with some way to refer to commonly encountered people in my blog. So the male half of the couple we hang out with is now going to be E.A. We went to Hobbytown yesterday and had a look around. He picked up a Player's Handbook for D & D and I got some Space Marine Scouts with Sniper Rifles.

We looked at Tau a bit and I had to admit that I didn't really know much about them. Well, an employee found us and filled us in on pretty much everything you would ever need to know about the Tau. Possibly a bit more than you would ever need to know. He was like a living Codex. A visibly excited living Codex. After reading a bit about the background and how the army works I've gained an appreciation for the Tau army. Their battlesuits are very customizable, sort of armored shells with hardpoints so you can build them with the weapon and wargear loadouts you want. I always thought that the Tau were kind of starved for variety, but that's because one kind of battlesuit can be built several different ways depending on function. The Tau Battleforce box appears to be one of the better Battleforces out there as it is literally packed with models and saves a lot more money versus buying the units individualy than most of the other armies. I ran the contents of the box through the Army Builder software and it looks like the box set plus a leader for the army will run right up to about 750 points, perfect for opposing my Space Marine army list. Now E.A. just has to talk is wife into it.

After we left the store we realized that we hadn't looked for figures to represent our D & D PCs, so we went back in to search the Reaper shelves. I finally found a dual-wielding ranger to serve as my wife's character and E.A. found figures for his Dwarf Fighter and his wife's Eladrin Wizard, but I had no luck finding a Tiefling Warlock. I'll have to keep digging.

I assembled a squad of Space Marines and got a black undercoat slapped on them. I haven't got much beyond that, though. Hopefully I'll be able to knock them out pretty fast and at least get my 750 points out of the way. Then I get to work on some Orks. I'm looking forward to building and painting the Ork Trukk. The new White Dwarf is stuffed with Ork articles so I'm looking forward to that, as well as all the new Ork releases coming out in Wave 2 during Janu-waaagh!-ry.

I think that's about it for me. I'll probably be pretty quiet during the next couple of days as we gear up for Christmas and do that whole shindig. What we're really looking forward to is the big meal that my parents have been putting on around Christmas time the last few years. They put a plastic sheet on the table, boil up huge quantities of crab, shrimp, potatoes and onions; then they dump it all out on the table and everyone digs in until they can no longer move. It's one of the highlights of the year for everyone except the one or two siblings who lose out by claiming not to like seafood. Then we've got my sister's wedding reception to go to and another round of D & D with our friends. It should be an action-packed weekend.

21 December 2008

It was an interesting season in Fantasy Football for me. Three of my four teams had a really good chance to come away with a trophy going into the playoffs. My team in the office league went into the playoffs ranked first but went on to lose all three playoff games and drop from the first seed to an eighth-place finish. My team in the TMP League made it into the third-place game and won tonight under the power of four touchdowns by DeAngelo Williams. A public league team also made it into the third-place game and as long as Aaron Rodgers has a decent day tomorrow I'll finish the season with two third-place trophies. I have championships in every other fantasy sport, but a gold trophy for football still eludes me. I guess there's always next season.

I've been trying to find a good D & D character sheet that auto-fills and does all the math for you. I thought I'd found one today, but it falls short when it comes to calculating Armor Class and I don't particularly like the way it covers listing the various abilities. It looks like the Wizards of the Coast site has a beta for a character builder, so I may have to try that out. Of course once their Insider program kicks off they'll want a subscription fee for access to it.

I think that my friend (the same dude whose home we played D & D in) is interested in playing 40k. We are tentatively going to visit Hobbytown this week so I can show him what they've got. I've been putting together some of my Space Marine squads in anticipation of getting something painted up so we can have a game. He mentioned a passing interest in Orks, but the army he used to play was Eldar and he was pretty interested in the Tau after I described them to him. That works out for me, as I have no real interest in Eldar or Tau. Hopefully we can get a game in sometime next year. I'm going to try building and painting a couple of 750-point armies to start with. For the Space Marines that's only 26 infantry and one vehicle. I imagine my Ork list will be somewhat larger.
Last night we went over to our friends' house to play D & D. When the GM for the game arrived, I saw that he was wearing military boots and looked oddly familiar. We worked out that we had been in the same National Guard unit for a couple of months in 2002-2003. It's a small world.

The game was pretty fun. We only got through the first fight, as no one was very familiar with the rules and we spent a lot of time working out how things should play out. But at least we were playing something. I think the wives even had a good time, despite being hesitant about playing such a nerdy game beforehand.

14 December 2008

Today we had dinner at the home the only couple we really ever hang out with. Apparently the husband played Warhammer 40k every week at some point in the past. He played Eldar, which I suppose is something I can look past. After dinner we played Carcassonne, which turned out to be a fairly fun game. I think that if we played it a few more times it would be easier to grasp the strategy of the game and score more points. There were times when I had all of my counters tied up in unproductive parts of the board and missed out on opportunities.

After that the ladyfolk retired to the living room to do whatever it is they do and we tried out the World of Warcraft TCG. We didn't get to finish the game as we had to go home, so that will have to wait until next time.

Now that I know he is a prior wargamer I may have to take my Skaven over to show them off. He doesn't have his Eldar anymore, so it would be nice if I had a couple of opposing armies to pit against each other. Unfortunately I don't have anything really completed for 40k at the moment. I wonder if he would be interested in Mordheim. I could probably paint up a couple of warbands in fairly short order, assuming I ever decide to get off my duff and actually work on some figures.

11 December 2008

Tonight I had a spare hour or so and fiddled around a bit with an M10 Tank Destroyer; just cleaning up the casting and test-fitting the parts. I need to acquire some tongue depressors or craft sticks to glue my infantry to. I've heard that smaller figures paint up well when glued in sticks of ten or so. The craft stick gives you a handle to hold onto, and you can paint the figures in an assembly line if you line them up on the stick.

I've also been trying to decide how to arm my Assault Marine Sergeant. I like the picture on the front of the box of a Sergeant with a Storm Shield and a power fist, but the point cost for that weapon combination seems a bit excessive. I'm not sure it's worth it to kit out a lowly Assault Squad Sergeant with all that stuff. That power axe on the sprue is a pretty nifty bit as well. We'll see.

The Fantasy Football week started today with the New Orleans-Chicago game. I didn't have any players in the game, but two of my three playoff teams were facing teams with Matt Forte on their rosters. He failed to match projections which works out in my favor. Chicago won in overtime, which should make the Grimsby Mariner pretty happy. As I recall he is a Chicago fan.

Not much else to report. There is a pretty big snowstorm supposed to hit tomorrow and last into Saturday, so I probably won't be riding my motorcycle in to work. People ask me how I can ride in the cold, but the truth is that riding my bike is generally warmer than driving the car. My jacket and gloves heat up immediately while the car's heater doesn't usually come into it's own until I'm halfway to work. But if there's going to be snow and wind then four wheels will serve me better than two.

10 December 2008

My package of Flames of War goodies from The WarStore arrived yesterday. Unfortunately instead of the Fortress Europe book I ordered the box contained a copy of Festung Europa, which I already have. Luckily the customer service at The WarStore is very good and they've already got the proper book in the mail on its way to me. They offered to let me keep Festung Europa at half price or mail it back and have them refund my shipping costs. As I've already got a copy I elected to ship it back. So everything is taken care of; it just stinks to wait another week for my book to arrive.

I do have the main body of my Flames of War American Rifle Company now, so maybe I'll be able to kick that project off sometime soon. The army list I have written out calls for 118 infantry figures, 4 jeeps, and 8 AFVs. Not extremely overwhelming as they are 15mm figures. I am still short a bazooka team and a Sherman platoon, but I've got the bulk of the army on hand. Once I finish the Americans I've got an opposing German list written out. Going off the profiles in the book it seems like the Germans don't get as much kit for their points and don't really have a lot of statistical advantages built into their profiles. They are slightly upgraded in quality (Confident Veteran as opposed to the American's default Confident Trained) but having never played the game I don't know how much that affects their performance in-game. All I've got for the Germans so far is one Panzer IV, so it will be a while before I get around to starting that phase of the project. I haven't noticed any of the Flames of War stuff moving off the rack at Hobbytown; I wonder if I'm the only local interested in playing.

I went to Hobbytown after work last night to get some paint. It was gaming night, so the usual collection of folks were there. One guy was busily stacking his army and as much terrain as he could find on the largest gaming table. The lone female Hobbytown employee was talking to another gamer about getting a ride home for her son and the terrain-hoarder jumped in to loudly give his opinion on who would be the best to give the kid a ride. Somehow he got onto the subject of all the educational and social benefits of gaming and as she moved away he followed her in an attempt to corner her and impress her with his arguments. Between his volume and obvious ignorance of her desire to be geographically separated from him I think everyone in the store felt a little uncomfortable.

He was distracted from his conversation when a couple of guys came in with their armies and asked who was using the big table. He ran over and told them he was waiting on a friend because he had a 2000-point game arranged. They asked where his friend was and he assured them that the friend would arrive sometime during the evening and asked how big their game was. They said 1500 points with the caveat that it was 1500 points of Orks (traditionally an army with a lot of figures-per-point). Also, they argued, we have two people here with their armies ready to play now while you don't have a clue where your friend is. He announced in a petulant voice that he had shown up early just so he could reserve the large table and all of the terrain for his game. The discussion was getting pretty heated at this point, with neither side wanting to give in and use a small table. I never got to see the battle's resolution as I had completed my purchase and didn't want to stand around gawking at them, but even without seeing the finish it was a pretty interesting trip to the hobby shop.

If we ever get to a point where this baby will lay down for a nap on his own I will be able to get my Flames of War force put together and painted up pretty fast. With the smaller scale and realtively simple paint schemes I should be able to pump out my Rifle Company pretty quickly. That's not to say that we don't enjoy the critter, but it's occasionally frustrating especially for my wife. Some days when he's being difficult she's lucky just to brush her teeth and get a shower. There is certainly an adjustment period while we get used to caring for the critter and he gets used to life on the outside. People have reassured us that he will develop a schedule and we'll get more time to do things.

We rented the latest Batman movie last night. It was pretty good, although Batman's voice while he was wearing the batsuit was very distracting. It sounded like every time he put the suit on he came down with a terrible sore throat. It sort of jarred us out of the movie every time he had a significant conversation. Everyone raves about Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker and I suppose the attention is warranted. He certainly carries the film more than anyone else.

08 December 2008

This was a painful weekend for me in the world of Fantasy Football. I went into the playoffs in the office league ranked in first place, and it wasn't even that close. This week my team had their lowest score since week 4, shaming me by losing to a team that barely got into the playoff and ruining a streak of awesome performances. I'll probably pout and plan my revenge the way until draft time rolls around next year. And that's why Fantasy Football is so frustrating and addictive. Even when you've got a clearly superior team with good matchups, the sample size for scoring from week to week is so small that anything can happen. In the TMP league I got into the playoffs, and right now my team is trailing by a little more than one point. I need DeAngelo Williams to run for 12 yards in the next 5 minutes or I will be knocked out of the playoffs in that league too. Another disappointing Fantasy Football season for me this year. Maybe I'll get a trophy next year. Update: Immediately after I typed the above, DeAngelo Williams rumbled for a 38-yard touchdown, so I will be advancing in the TMP playoffs and am still in contention for a trophy.

Some people know that I am a office supply nerd, especially when it comes to pens. A few weeks ago I was helping a guy with the paperwork for his military move and his wife noticed my double-ended Sharpie markers. She asked me if I knew about Sharpie's new pens. I replied that I had not heard of such a thing. She went on to enumerate the many features of this revolutionary product. Since then I have kept an eye out for them and finally found a seller on eBay. They arrived today and I have to admit that I like them. They will probably replace my double-ended markers for most purposes.

I cleaned my desk off tonight. That means my painting area is somewhat clear. That doesn't necessarily mean that any painting will happen in my painting area, but it's cleared off. I don't have much else to post about. It would be nice to get out of my painting funk, but I don't now if it will happen anytime soon. My schedule is looking to ramp up a lot more in the near future with school starting and various military training that I get to participate in over the next year. I've got most of the core elements for an American Infantry Company for Flames of War, so maybe I'll take a break from fantasy and sci-fi and do something historical. I broke down and purchased a few of the Citadel Foundation paints with the idea that my fantasy Orcs will continue being painted in the traditional green triad while the Orks will get their skin painted in the new green triad.

I nearly forgot some exciting news. When I made my Black Friday order from The Warstore I remembered to order a Zed figure, which honors Sean Connery's character in the classic film Zardoz. From what I hear the movie is quite terrible, but Zed has become sort of a cult celebrity among the TMP crowd.

30 November 2008

Even though my wife, the critter and I were all sick with some sort of head cold this weekend it was a pretty good holiday. Thursday we had the big Thanksgiving feast at my parents' house with all of my siblings present. I don't remember Friday at all; I think we spent the day taking medicine and trying to sleep. Saturday the girls had a baby shower for my sister (an even that I thankfully did not have to attend) and I went out to the farm to shoot guns with my dad, my brother, and my brother-in-law. They had the whole collection out so we got to fire a variety of different weapons and enjoy each other's company. There were several other groups of guys out there in roughly the same area doing the same thing, so I guess maybe a Thanksgiving weekend shoot is a common tradition out there.

About the only thing I've done on the hobby side of things is write up a couple of 1000-point lists for Flames of War. The critter has been keeping very odd hours, so the wife and I spend a lot of time trading off so we can both get a little sleep here and there. It's interesting how carrying around a new baby is like an invitation for strangers to start conversations with you. At Wal-Mart the other day we probably had four or five groups of people talk to us about the kid. Most folks comment about his full head of hair.

Once again I have stayed up way past my bedtime. I was up a little too late anyway, then I remembered that I had to give myself a haircut so I wouldn't be a hippie at work tomorrow, then because of the haircut I had to take a shower, and then I wanted to post on my blog before the week starts. Now it's midnight and I have to wake up in just over five hours.

Three of my four Fantasy Football teams have made the playoffs, including the important ones from the office league and the Miniatures Page league. The team that didn't make it has scored a lot of points but due to matchups always played the other teams on their best weeks, so that team is sitting at 8th place out of 10 teams. Hopefully I can win some trophies this year.

26 November 2008

Yesterday morning I started feeling the tickle in the back of my throat that for me generally signals a pending illness. By the time I went to bed last night my throat was swollen to the point that I had difficulty breathing and speaking. In the morning I woke up long enough to call in sick and went back to sleep. It's spread out now, so I hurt everywhere and get a little woozy just from walking around. I'm still fighting it off; hopefully I'll be able to take some TheraFlu tonight and sleep it off in time to have an appetite for Thanksgiving. The wife and baby had been sick all week, so it's only fair that I come down with something too. On the plus side I was able to spend a little time today taking care of the baby, so the wife was able to get some important stuff done (like take a shower and bake some pies). The Thing really is a good baby. We like him. The dogs have been a little mischievous lately; probably because we've been ignoring them a bit as we lavish attention on the kid. Hopefully they'll calm down as they get used to their new places in the pecking order.

Not much else to write about, really. I can't even think of a good second sentence for this paragraph.

23 November 2008

There isn't much going on at the moment. We got the new Supergrass album on mp3. It's pretty good. Apparently Kings of Leon came out with a new album in September, which is pretty cool. I hope it's good, as on their website they look like they've gone a bit too far over to the emo side of fashion. I hope it doesn't creep into their music. I liked them much better as dirty bearded vagrants.

My parents gave us a TV as a Christmas present. I think the screen is about a foot larger than our previous television and the sound is a great improvement also. The previous TV was already old when my wife rescued it from a dumpster seven years ago, so it's pretty nice to watch a movie or show and actually be able to see and hear everything all at the same time.

I got one of the Citadel (Games Workshop) battlemats as they have received very good reviews in just about every conversation they come up in. I haven't had much time for anything hobby-related as the new baby is demanding a lot of time and attention. Even when I'm not directly interacting with him I'm trying to get caught up on other stuff. It's going to be even worse come January as I've signed on for a few classes at Boise State. I've gone back and forth about finishing school, but I feel it's something I need to work through and finish. Back on the subject of hobbies, I'm thinking about trying to assemble a few small forces for the Warhammer and Lord of the Rings games and playing games on my table at home with unpainted figures just as a way to actually get some use out of my toys and learn the systems a little bit.

Today was my birthday. We didn't do anything really special for it, as I got my present a long time ago and we really didn't feel like doing anything outside of our normal Sunday routine. I spent all day yesterday at a recruiting event for the National Guard, supervising a bunch of high school kids while they played paintball and got pumped up about the military.

17 November 2008

I've been meaning to make a post for a while now, but my wife and I are pretty well baby-shocked and haven't been able to get up to much besides essentials. I did find time to inventory all my figures, both painted and unpainted. It wasn't as depressing as I anticipated. I've got about 1020 figures in all and 28% of them are painted.

Hobbytown continues to place more miniatures on clearance, this past week it was Skaven and the big Orc & Goblin army box. The Orc & Goblin box is a great deal with about $250 in figures for $114, but I already have all the figures I need for maybe 4000+ points of greenskins. So I get to take a pass on that. I did get the Plague Monks and Jezzail teams I need to finish my 3000-point ratmen list, though. There is a whole section of Reaper figures on clearance, but it would take forever to dig through it all to find the gems. None of the Reaper games are put together well enough to try playing them anyway. I am hoping Hobbytown's mass clearance is just an attempt to clear out slow-moving stock and not a sign that they are cutting out gaming altogether or in danger of going under. Although we've had problems with some of their staff in the past, they have the best prices on gaming stuff locally and are usually pretty helpful.

Now it is way past my bedtime, so I'm going to try getting some sleep.

10 November 2008

We took our baby to church today and blessed him; basically the process by which a kid gets added to the church records. After that we had a get-together at my sister's house with much of the local family in attendance. It was a pretty good time.

I have not had any time to even think about hobbies this week, for obvious reasons. I have changed a lot of diapers. That's been an experience.

I added a link in my sidebar to Massad Ayoob's blog. He is perhaps the foremost authority on home and personal defense, and has a lot of interesting things to say if you're into that sort of thing. I recall as a kid in 3rd and 4th grade reading his books In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection and The Truth About Self-Protection. Pretty heavy stuff for a young person I suppose, but definitely influential in my life and my outlook on the subject of firearm ownership and self-defense laws. I don't want to delve too deeply into politics here, so I'll leave it at that.

05 November 2008

We've got about a million Aunts and Great-Aunts clamoring for more pictures, so here are a couple we took last night and throughout today. The wife was feeling well enough today to walk down to the nursery, so we went down the hall for Ben's first bath. He didn't like it very much, but the nurse brushed his hair into a very fashionable combover-miullet. He sleeps a lot and keeps his eyes closed much of the time, but this evening just before I left to come home he opened his eyes up and looked around for ten minutes or so. In this first picture you can see that his hairline goes all the way down to his eyebrows.

Here's a picture of him with my wife's mom. This is during a rare moment today when I wasn't holding him. I think I spent about eight hours today carrying him around with me.

Here's me and my mom and me a couple hours after Ben was born. His parents and his grandmas were pretty well wiped out at this point.

04 November 2008

After 20+ hours in the hospital waiting for him to arrive the natural way, the doctor deemed that the chances of Benjamin getting out on his own were pretty slim. So at 10:35 p.m. on 03 November 2008 he was born via C-section. He's a hairy little feller, 20 1/4 inches long and 7 pounds, 12 ounces.

03 November 2008

It Looks Like Today's the Day

My wife's water broke last night, so it's pretty much guaranteed that we're going to have a baby at some point today. I had to run home and let the dogs out, so I thought I'd put up a quick post about it. At least it'll be easy to remember our anniversary, because it'll be the same as Ben's birthday.

01 November 2008

The mother-in-law is arriving in town at some point tonight to help with the baby; hopefully he makes his entrance in the two weeks she plans on being here. We stayed up late last night watching the latest Incredible Hulk movie, which was pretty good. I think there were a few scenes in the film that set up an Incredible Hulk sequel with the Leader as the main villain, an Avengers film, and quite possibly an appearance in the Wolverine solo film. I guess the Wolverine encounter could be in the next Hulk movie as well.

We slept in this morning and spent the bulk of the afternoon and evening running errands and cleaning house a bit. It was very exciting stuff.

I've been waiting for the Army Builder files to come out for the new Space Marines codex, but so far they've only been released in French. I can't read French, so those ones aren't much good to me. I lost my original handwritten Space Marines list, so I had to come up with another one. I don't like it very much, unfortunately, so I'm going to have another go at it.

My Imperial Armour - Model Masterclass Volume One book finally arrived from Forge World a couple of days ago. The pictures are certainly exceptionally pretty and so far it seems like a lot of the advice and methods described and shown in the book will improve my skills a fair bit. And since I apparently ordered one of the first 500 copies sold, the book was autographed by the book's main contributors.

My next step is to trim some flash off of the Assault on Black Reach sprues, prime the Space Marine parts, and slap some paint onto the Dreadnought. Once I get him finished I'll have a whopping 185 points of Space Marines painted up. That total goes up to 275 points if I repaint some details on the half-squad of Marines I finished a while back. I also realized recently that the new Land Speeder kit does not actually contain the parts for the Land Speeder Storm (the variant that carries 5 Scouts around the battlefield and gives them bonuses in assaults), so I'll have to wait for the Wave 2 releases to get my hands on that model. That's all right, though, as it means I won't have to paint up a unit of Scouts for a while. Before I finalize my lists for Orks and Space Marines I'm thinking about using empty bases and vehicle-sized bits of cardstock to play a few sample games and see how the different weapons and rules work together. We'll see how it goes. Pretty much all of my army lists for any game system are based on models I like rather than any pretense of in-game min-maxing. I figure I spend 99% of my hobby time planning and painting, so I might as well be working on models I like.

I got an e-mail from Games Workshop today featuring all of their new releases for November 1st. The most exciting things listed are the new boxed army deals for the Lord of the Rings. They've got armies for the Eastern Kingsdoms (with a Mumak!), Gondor (big blocks of troops!), Mordor (2 Trolls!), Rohan (Cavalry!), and Isengard (Warg Riders!). They're a bit pricey (between $135 and $343 depending on the set and the number of models) but come in at a pretty big discount from buying the components separately. I did the math and they come out to right at $2 per model for each set. That seems a bit high, but the discount comes into play when you figure that the special characters and large models run from $17 to $60 purchased on their own. I probably won't be getting any of them, but it's nice to see them coming out with some nice big Lord of the Rings boxed sets. It seems like I've already got an avalanche of models that will take at least a couple of years to paint unless I really make some amazing strides in my painting speed. I imagine my free time isn't going to increase anytime soon with a new baby in the house.

28 October 2008

Well, with the Terminators finished I started trying to decide what to paint next. I looked over all the models that got the Rust-Oleum primer test and they were pretty bad-looking. I tried to slap some basecoat on the Dreadnought, but it just looked bad. I think my next step will be to buy some Reaper brush-on primer. I don't know if it's the climate, bad luck or imperfect technique on my part, but I haven't been able to get good results with a spraycan for a long time. I'm also going to try painting most of the parts on the sprue. I'm thinking I'll build the main bodies of the figures (legs, torsos, possibly heads) and stick them to their bases. The backpacks, arms and other attachments will be painted on the sprue; then I'll attach everything together and touch up the joins. It's not my preferred method, but I think it'll turn out easier in the long run.

I caught another mouse today. I'd been trying to trap this one for a while, but he kept stealing the peanut butter off the traps without setting off the mechanism. We had a close call the other day, as he snapped the trap and lost a bit of hair getting away, but then he stole the peanut butter again. So I devised a trap layout that practically forced him to walk across one trap to get to the other one. That finally worked, and hopefully we won't have any more rodents invading our house. I've got traps set around the house in likely spots just in case, though. Where there's one pest there are likely to be more.

I may try to push through and paint these crusty figures anyway, as it seems a shame to relegate them to the scrap pile. They can always be moved into the reserve companies/mobs once I get some better-looking figures painted up. They aren't as bad as some of the other primer mishaps I've experienced, just a little cracking along seams and a bit of detail obscuration in places. Probably a case of too much primer in certain areas. It'll probably have to be on a model-by-model basis. We'll see.

I've been chasing a few Warhammer Dogs of War units on eBay. They tend to be pricey, so I've not had much luck in that department. I was able to obtain Beorg Bearstruck and the Bearmen of Urslo from a seller in the UK. Beorg is a werebear clan chieftain, and the bearmen are fur-wearing barbarians who follow him. A while back I got Golgfag's Mercenary Ogres at Hobbytown for 75% off. I probably won't be able to pick up any more in the near future. The next set I really want is Long Drong's Pirate Slayers. They're a bunch of Dwarf Slayers who became pirates and carry a whole bunch of pistols. There was a big unit up on eBay last week that I was watching, but they went to about three times what I was willing to pay for them. I'd also like to get Leopold's Leopard Company (a unit of pikemen), perhaps Lumpin Croop's Fighting Cocks (some halfling archers), and maybe even a Halfling Hot Pot (a large slinghot that fires a pot of boiling soup onto the enemy). I'll probably keep picking them up at a glacial pace over the next few years. The units aren't really much good for playing games with, I suppose, but they are certainly a bit more characterful than many of the figures they're putting out now.

27 October 2008

My wife hasn't had the baby yet. I finally finished the Terminators. They look all right. Here are some pictures:

26 October 2008

I am very near to being done with this pair of Terminators. All that's left is painting a couple of cables on their arms and deciding what color, if any, I want to highlight the green with. I was going to take a picture so this post isn't entirely worthless, but the batteries on the camera are dead. I'd better charge them, as we may want to take some pictures of the baby when he shows up. With the Space Marine army coming along, it's time to start thinking about the decals I'll need for shoulderpads and squad numbers.

My eventual goal is to get 1500 points of Marines finished so I have at least one finished force for both Warhammer and Warhammer 40k. Hobbytown has a game night every Tuesday, and supposedly the shift supervisor stays around until midnight so people can finish their games. I figure if I show up with Skaven and Space Marines I'll be able to play whichever game happens to be going on. The reason I went with Space Marines over Orks as the first finished force is that I've already got 1500 points of Space Marine figures on hand. The Orks are going to take a while longer to accumulate. Of course, there is still a lot of kit for both armies that I still want. I've been reading some about Space Marine Scouts and at some point I'd like to get one of the new Land Speeders and build it as the Storm variant, which allows the Land Speeder to carry five Scouts around and theoretically drop off a heavy weapons team or a sniper squad in a convenient area before continuing on it's own mission. Now that I've settled on a color scheme I hope the army will come together pretty quickly. I am a little worried about getting all the vehicles painted. I've got a Land Raider, a Predator, at least one Dreadnought, and a Land Speeder to paint. I haven't done much painting of such large figures, so that will be a learning experience. I've been messing around with my airbrush, just spraying water so far, ut hopefully my skills will be up to the task of at least laying down a basecoat on the vehicles.

25 October 2008

I entirely forgot to post about the most exciting snippet in the latest White Dwarf magazine. In January the Orks are going to be getting a bunch of new plastic kits, to include Stormboyz, new Nobz and Grotz, and a really nice-looking Battlewagon. The Battlewagon takes a lot of its looks from the recent truck kit, and I'm looking forward to adding one of them to my collection. The new Stormboyz (Orks with rockets strapped to their backs) look pretty good as well.

Edit: Here's a scan that someone made of the photo in the magazine:

And you can see some photos of a couple more variants on this blog.

23 October 2008

Not much to talk about tonight, as I haven't been up to much on the hobby side of things this week. Yesterday was the one day I really had some time to paint, but around 5:30 I fell asleep and really only woke up in time to go back to bed again.

Today we went out and bought a freezer that we've been talking about for several months. The freezer on top of our fridge just doesn't cut it for us, so we finally decided to get a new one. I don't shop at Home Depot too often, and I was surprised and somewhat disappointed that they don't offer a military discount anymore. I find it interesting that Home Depot doesn't offer a military discount, but Hot Topic does. We changed the dogs' food for another brand, and it didn't agree with Buddy very much. On Tuesday we woke up to find the living room covered in a poo-splosion. And again when we got home from work. This time we ordered a carpet steam cleaner, as the damage is somewhat extensive. We could've rented a machine, but my sister and her husband rented one a while back and it wound up costing them the same as buying one anyway. It should arrive tomorrow, so we can clean all through the weekend. Appliances aren't the most exciting things in the world to buy, but sometimes you've got to buy something besides toys.

I also bought a Turtle Fur Shellaclava, which will hopefully keep my neck and chin warm while riding my bike. To keep to the theme, Cycle Gear offers a military discount. They also have a winter-oriented jacket on clearance that will be an additional 20% off this weekend. I am considering purchasing it, as the morning ride just keeps getting colder. Soon I'll look like Randy from the movie A Christmas Story; heaven help me if I ever fall down while wearing my winter riding gear.

Speaking of A Christmas Story, the first time I watched that movie I went out in the back yard to play with the dog, and would up experimenting to see if my tongue really would stick to a cold pole. It did, and I was stuck out there for a good ten or fifteen minutes before my Dad saw me through the kitchen window.

14 October 2008

I've been slowly working away on the Terminators. Not much more to show, although I'm about done with the basecoat for the metallic parts. Not much else to say about them. I was a little unsure about my paint scheme, but as I fill in the details it's looking better to me.

I was able to get my heated motorcycle gear hooked up for this morning's commute. On the negative side, it's pretty difficult to get the stuff on and hooked up, as the gloves are fairly bulky and the plugs are difficult to get connected and tucked back into the jacket sleeves. And you'd better have your key out of your pocket and your helmet on before you put them on, as if you don't you'll have to take off the glove, which will then pull the wire out of the sleeve and make you do it all over again. The bulkiness of the gloves also makes the controls a little more difficult to manipulate, but not so much so as to make it feel unsafe to ride. Just different.

On the plus side, the gear is plenty warm. In fact, I had the temperature control for the gloves turned up too much and I thought they were going to burn me until I got on the freeway and the wind started to draw some of the heat off. The jacket was not as noticeably warm, but still took all the bite out of the cold. The gear heats up fast, too, not like a heater in a car that takes half the commute to get warm. I think it was definitely worth the money and should keep me on two wheels for several more weeks or until the snow and ice hit.

13 October 2008

A Little More Progress

I got a little more paint on the Terminators today, mostly just skulls and other iconography. I spent most of the day hooking up my electrically-heated motorcycle gear and moving furniture and other stuff around in anticipation of the baby. The bedroom at least is much more ready to accommodate the piles of stuff that are required for the upkeep and care of a child. And the bookshelf is out of the hallway, so that's a plus.

It's nice having the day off due to the federal holiday, but it's no fun that the mail doesn't run on federal holidays. Ever since I was a very young boy ordering stamp collections and cereal box toys through the post the mail has held a bit of magic for me. Usually all that arrives is bills, but sometimes there is a parcel of some sort containing toys.
I made a very small bit of progress on my Terminators today, mostly just figuring out what colors I'm going to paint some things. I'm going to keep the Company colors and probably the force organization as they're organized in the army book, so Terminators get to be members of the 1st Company and get white and silver as Company colors. So far it looks all right.

The Denver Broncos lost this week, which probably signals the start of their traditional pattern of losing control of the division and then frittering away a playoff spot. Their next 7 or 8 games look very winnable, but my prediction is that it'll come down to the last game of the season against the Chargers, and given their past I don't think the Broncos will be able to get it done.

12 October 2008

Terminators and Mumaks

I've been working on a Space Marine Terminator to see how my tentative paint scheme will look. So far it looks about how I want it to. It's not very close to being done, I still have to paint a lot of details and figure out how to do the highlights. The right knee, which I was going to paint in the company color, has some sort of skull device on it so I'm probably going to use the shield-shaped bit on the left shoulder to designate company color and squad number.

I was at the hobby shop today and noticed that many of their Lord of the Rings boxed sets were marked at 50% off, including the War Mumak of Harad, also known as an Oliphaunt. A discount coupon I had brought the price to 60% off, and I got the largest Lord of the Rings model there is. The box contains one Mumak and 13 infantry models.

I finally got to look through the new Space Marines Codex and build an army list out to 1500 points. I have nearly everything I need for the army already, save for a squad of Space Marines and their transport. Of course at some point I'll be wanting to add some Assault Marines, some Scouts, a few Terminators with non-standard kit, a better Captain model, a Forge World Dreadnought or two.... But the main core of the army is essentially complete. I need a few more models to fill out my Ork list, as the Ork models tend to cost fewer points than Space Marines.

09 October 2008

The compressor for my airbrush arrived, which was a relief. The seller had received some feedback recently to the effect that if they didn't feel like the item sold for enough on eBay, they just wouldn't ship the item. Since I got the compressor at the seller's starting price while a few compressors of the same model had just sold for quite a bit more I got nervous after feedback for other items that sold on the same day started appearing on their profile. My second concern was that it would be somehow incomplete, as the seller stated they were a pawn shop and that the auction contained whatever parts they had. I'm compared the pictures in the auction with stock photos and it looked like everything was there, but I couldn't be sure until it arrived. I hooked it up and tested everything out, and everything appears to be working correctly.

Tonight I put the DVD that came with the airbrush in to see what it had to say. Mostly it showed a lot of late 80s-early 90s hair and clothes. I think there was also a sweet airbrushed jacket with a Southwestern theme. I'll probably have to find a book or DVD that focuses more on painting models.

The temperatures dropped a lot last night, and the ride in to work was terrible. I couldn't feel my fingers by the time I got there, and the rest of me was pretty cold too. So I ordered my heated jacket liner and gloves; they should be here on Monday. I'll probably wind up buying some heated pants as well once the temperatures drop even more. They work by running some wires from the battery to a plug that attaches to a temperature-control unit, which in turn has a few connectors that attach to heating elements in the clothing. I sprung for the dual-controller, which will let you adjust the temperature of each item of clothing individually. You can also attach the gloves to the jacket in one circuit and pants and socks in a series on the other. The ones I bought got good reviews, so we'll see how they work out for me.

As usual I haven't got anything hobby-related done the last couple of days. Today we had to run errands and get the wife's phone fixed; hopefully this time for good. Our warranty runs out next week, so of course her phone has been going haywire lately. We've replaced the phone and the charger, so really all that's left to replace is the battery. Yesterday we were both so tired that we went to bed at seven and slept straight through the night except for an hour or so when we woke up and ate dinner. I imagine we'll be even more tired after the baby decides to pop out and demand full attention.

06 October 2008

I didn't get anything done on the Orcs today. Instead I decided to mow the lawn and clear some junk out of the house. Soon we'll be moving stuff around in the bedroom so we'll be able to fit all of the bookshelves and baby stuff in there, which will free up space in the rest of the house. I'll probably have to construct a different and smaller habitat for the tortoise, as his current home dominates a very large portion of the living room and he only utilizes a small area in it. A couple months ago I put out some grass seed in the back yard. It finally grew in a little, so at least that part of the yard is no longer a total mud pit/dust bowl. I only seeded the part of the yard that's visible from the road first, as that's all the park managers can see from their golf cart. Now I just need to get the rest of the yard taken care of. I didn't want to dump money into the whole yard until I knew that this grass would actually survive the rigors of two large dogs.

I think that once I get this batch of Orcs done I'll paint up five Terminators from the Black Reach set. The Bolter and Chainsword website has a handy Space Marine painter tool that lets you try out various paint schemes. The pictures below show what I think I'll be going with for my Space Marines. I'll probably order some WWII US armor decals to put on the shoulderpads, and squad numbers will go on the colored knee pads (the color designates which Company of the Chapter the model is a part of). The helmets were originally green in color, but I saw a picture in the How to Paint Space Marines book of a Chapter that had metallic helmets and I thought that was a pretty good idea, so I'm going to try it. I thought the metallic powerfist was a pretty good idea as well. We'll see how it turns out.
I also worked out my Ork army list using the Army Builder software. I don't know how great the list is, but it incorporates most of the models I've already got as well as a couple of other things I think are neat, like a Deff Dread and a Killa Kan. I'm still waiting on building a Space Marine army list as I don't have the new Codex yet. With what I've got already I should be pretty close to 1500 points, but I'm not sure yet. I may need a Rhino or Razorback, and I still would like to add an Assault Squad and some Scouts. But by the time I add all that I'll probably be up over my points limit.

05 October 2008

Still not much going on hobbywise, although I did paint a little bit on the unit of Orcs I started several months ago. I'm hoping that by the end of my weekend I'll be able to finish them off and work on something else that I'm actually excited about.

My airbrush arrived in the mail a couple of days ago but the compressor for it is still en route. The airbrush came in a fancy little case with all sorts of nozzles and bottles and whatnot, as well as a couple of instructional DVDs. Hopefully I can get it figured out and gain some sweet airbrushing skills.

Hobbytown got a bunch of the new Space Marines stuff in, which was pretty neat. I didn't actually buy any of the new stuff, but the old Land Speeder Tornado was on clearance for 50% of retail. The only difference between the old one and the new one is that the old one only allows you to build the Tornado variant while the new kit has parts for both the Tornado and Typhoon variants. I like the Tornado version better anyway, so I'll take a 50% discount when I can get it.

We spent some time out at my parents' farm today, which was nice. They have some little pigs and baby cows. Our dogs had a good time out there, especially Buddy. Annie is a little too needy to enjoy being outside away from all the people for extended periods of time. Buddy is too busy barking and eating terrible things in the field to care much that we're not around.

28 September 2008

There's not much to talk about today. I fiddled around with a couple of Lord of the Rings figures but didn't really get anything done hobby-wise aside from reading most of the latest issue of White Dwarf. I found a really nice airbrush compressor at a good price and fortunately got outbid on the airbrush I want to get, because it went for a whole lot more than I wanted to pay and I found a supplier for the same model at a lower price than my maximum bid had been. So that worked out pretty well. I also found a few sites with some beginner exercises so I can figure out how to use the darn thing once I get it. I'll have to look into building a spray booth, because commercial spray booths are way expensive, especially considering that they're essentially boxes with a ventilation hood on them. Hobbytown has a little turntable thing for airbrushing, but I think a larger version of the same thing could be scratchbuilt for a lot less than they're asking. I'm still trying to finalize a color scheme for my Space Marines. The half-squad I did before look fairly decent so I may stick with the green and brown look, probably with markings taken from American WWII armor.

24 September 2008

I've been meaning to post for a while, but it always gets to be too late and I wind up going to bed before I get around to it. Even after a month of working at this new job I'm having a hard time getting used to the new schedule.

I got part of one of my Assault on Black Reach sets cleaned up and put together. I wasn't happy with the gesso priming experiment, so I went to Wal-Mart and got some primer there as some folks on TMP swear by the Rust-Oleum stuff. I'm not too happy with the results of that, either. I'll be able to paint over it fine, but it doesn't look very good and there are cracks on many of the seams. So far the best primer I've used has been the Games Workshop stuff, but there's always the chance that I'll get a bad batch or spray when the conditions are wrong and mess up some figs. I think what I'll have to do is get a bunch of figures ready and prime a sample batch, then immediately prime everything I can get my hands on. Part of my holdup currently is that I've got a bunch of figures ready to go, but I don't have anything to prime them with.

Hobbytown had their big 10% off customer appreciation sale last weekend, so I went to see what I could see. They were sold out of Assault on Black Reach sets, so I wound up getting a couple of opposing units for my Ork and Space Marine armies. The Space Marines get a Predator, which was purchased mostly because it loosely resembles a Bradley CFV. I know I have professed a dislike for vehicle in a Space Marine force, but they've grown on me recently. The Orks got a unit of Tankbustas, so the Ork army won't be entirely helpless against the Predator. I'm looking forward to the release of the new Space Marine Codex. I've also been eyeing some of the Forge World Dreadnoughts; I can't afford most of the stuff that Forge World sells, but one of their Dreadnought variants would be a pretty neat thing to have in an army.

My wife and I were actually discussing the Forge World the other day. I mentioned that someday I'd like to be rich enough to afford a Mars Pattern Reaver Titan ($1021.15 at today's exchange rate) and she told me that if she dies and I get the insurance money she'd be okay with me spending part of it on a Titan. Then we wondered if the Titan was indeed large enough that I could hollow it out and use it to hold her cremated remains. An odd conversation, but rather humorous if you're a geek and his loving wife. I imagine somewhere in her mind she knows that if she were interred in a giant miniature I would be more inclined to visit her final resting place than if she were buried in a more traditional manner.

With these Warhammer 40k vehicles and my budding WWII project I have been thinking about the benefits of painting my vehicles with an airbrush. I think it would save a lot of time as well as aid in painting the large flat panels more smoothly than would be possible with a brush. I've been looking into it. A quality airbrush and compressor will be a bit spendy up front, but it will probably be worth it for painting larger models. I know there are even some people who paint WWII German camouflage on Micro Armour with airbrushes. On that subject, I highly recommend logging onto the GHQ miniatures forum and checking out the "Show Us Yer Stuff!" thread. Some of the photos on the early pages are broken, but it's definitely worth browsing through to see the amount of detail good painters can get onto a vehicle the size of your fingernail.

I've got over 800 miles logged on the motorcycle and am becoming more comfortable and having a bit more fun riding it. I'm still trying to be responsible and keep the speeds approximately legal. I have to admit it is rather satisfying having a greater power:weight ratio and a much smaller profile than any four-wheeled driver out there. The commute is a breeze when I can get around in traffic so easily. It's getting cold so I may have to start looking at heated gear so I can ride as much as possible into the winter and then start early next year. We save over $125 in gas for every month that I ride instead of drive, so it makes sense to ride as much as weather and road conditions allow.

15 September 2008

I got a $10 coupon in the mail from Hobbytown, so I went out and bought a second box of Assault on Black Reach. Then I put the rulebooks and templates up on eBay. They sold pretty quickly and after shipping costs I'll have about $15 and a $5 coupon to put toward another set. Then I'll just need a couple of special units for each side and I'll have complete 1500-point Space Marine and Ork armies. Not a bad deal, really, especially with the emphasis on standard Troop choices in the 5th-edition rules.

My little brother and I went to the Gunfighter Skies 2008 air show on Mountain Home Air Force Base this past Saturday. Plenty of interesting planes to look at, and they also had a Bradley IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) there so I got to show him essentially what the vehicle I gun on looks like. The main difference between the IFV and the CFV (Cavalry Fighting Vehicle) is that the IFV has more seating in the back and the CFV has missile racks in place of some of the seats. There were some good demonstrations of several current fighter planes, the most comprehensive covered the capabilities of the F-18. We also got to see a P-51 in flight as well as an F-4 Phantom and a whole bunch of F-15s, which pretty much made my day.

I suffered a couple of crushing defeats in Fantasy Football this week as well as a couple of victories. Most importantly I pulled out another win in the office league, making me one of two owners to be undefeated thus far. It's important both for bragging right and because the league has a traveling trophy and prizes for the owners who finish in 1st and 2nd place.

08 September 2008

Not much to talk about at the moment. I don't really ever get around to doing much on National Guard weekends as I spend a couple of days doing whatever the mission is for the weekend and by the time I get home on Sunday all I want to do is take a nap. This weekend my allergies hit me pretty hard on Sunday morning and I was pretty much incapacitated for the rest of the day and didn't sleep very well last night. I'm glad today was an off-day at my job because I don't know that I would've made it in this morning. I had to do a urinalysis Sunday afternoon before I could leave and I just could not pee. I drank enough water that my stomach actually began to hurt and finally was able to get the job done, but it was pretty ridiculous. I think the allergy pills I took were a factor.

We drove our Humvees from the desert back to the armory on Sunday, and on the way home we passed a big motorcycle club out on a Sunday ride. Almost every biker extended a wave or a thumbs-up to us, as did many individuals in other vehicles throughout the trip. It's one of those things that makes a guy feel good about wearing the uniform.

I got my Assault on Black Reach set for 40k, but haven't had much time to look through the components thus far. There are certainly plenty of models on the sprues. They don't really come with a lot of the optional bits, but I can't really complain much as the price point is so low.

My Fantasy Baseball season has taken a bad turn. I failed to realize that the playoffs started last week and didn't manage either of my head-to-head teams very well until it was too late in the week to play catch-up. I wound up losing both games and falling to the fifth-place games in both weeks. So hopefully I can at least salvage a couple of fifth-place finishes this week. My roto team that was in first place when I left for guard weekend was in third place when I got back. I'll be working on getting those points back so I can hopefully pull off one championship this year. My other roto team has fallen pretty far back in the standings and I'll be pretty lucky if I can get it into even a third-place trophy.

And the Fantasy Football season started on Thursday. After the two games tonight we'll see how I did. I feel all right about my teams, but Fantasy Football is so hit or miss from week to week that it's hard to know how you'll do. Luckily the big Tom Brady injury only negatively affected one of my teams, as for the most part Patriots players were too overpriced in drafts for me to grab them.

01 September 2008

Not a very productive weekend, as my sister went into labor Saturday night and had her baby Sunday morning. We spent a good portion of the weekend going back and forth to see the kid and interact a bit with the family. My wife made a blanket and a nice framed poem/picture as gifts.

Saturday night we had dinner with the family of a gal my wife works with. We've had dinner with them a couple of times now; the husband is a gamer nerd but due to the fact that neither of us is very social we don't really get much talking in. I lent him my 4th Edition D & D books as he hasn't had a chance to look through them yet. Today I finally had my brother-in-law over to play Madden 09. We managed to get two games in. The first game was pretty close; I ran a kickoff back for a touchdown in overtime to win it. The second game wasn't as close; as I got ahead early and he had some bad luck in the passing game as well as some random penalties.

I get to go play army next weekend, so I probably won't be doing much hobby-related stuff for a while. I'll miss out on getting the Assault on Black Reach set on release day as it comes out on Saturday, by which time I'll be out in the Idaho desert somewhere.

I guess that's all the news I've got. Not exceptionally exciting to read about, I imagine, but at least it's an update.

31 August 2008

A few exciting things this week, I suppose. I think I must be the only one who reads Beckett Massive Online Gamer and sends in the survey every issue because a couple days ago another prize from them arrived in the mail, this time containing an entire booster box of the WoW Trading Card Game. So my wife and I got to bust open 24 packs of the Servants of the Betrayer set. It's too bad actually trying to keep up with and play the WoW TCG would cost so much money. I'm trying to stay away from collectible games as the sales model is designed entirely to suck players' wallets dry with a new and essential release every three or four months. Our two loot cards, redeemable for items inside the computer game, were both Papa Hummel's Pet Biscuits, which cause pets to grow when you feed the biscuits to them. I was hoping for a rocket mount, which would almost be enough to get me playing the computer game again, but we didn't get lucky enough to pull it.

The new issue of White Dwarf has a couple of free figures packed with it; a Space Marine Terminator and an Ork Nob. I think the starter set releases on September 6th, so it's only a few days away now. I stopped in to get the magazine on Tuesday, which happens to be game night at Hobbytown. There were three or four guys there playing Warhammer 40k.

25 August 2008

Not much to post about tonight. I guess the new job is going well. The pace of office work is sort of a shock to me, as there are lots of gaps between tasks and it feels a bit cheap inventing things to do to fill those gaps. My other jobs have all been the sort where you rush until the work is done and then you go home. I'll probably be trying to learn some of the other people's jobs a little bit so I can help them out when I run out of work.

I haven't had much time for anything gaming-related. I've been trying to get used to the new schedule; and my wife and I have been cleaning out the shed so we can shuffle stuff from the house to the shed and cut back on the piles of junk we've got everywhere. We've put it off for about two years now, but it's getting a bit ridiculous. So far we've sorted out quite a bit of stuff and consolidated several cartons of books onto a bookshelf we found on Craigslist. It's amazing the junk that follows a person around. I also am going to make an attempt at getting the yard looking a bit better. Tomorrow I get to pick up some weed barrier and maybe some wood chips. I'll probably talk to the folks at Zamzow's and see if they have anything that can help our front lawn. The back yard doesn't matter quite as much as you can't see it from the road, but I may try to get something started there. It'll probably take a year or two for it to be more than random patches of weeds, but you don't get anywhere unless you start. It'll be easier to keep up on stuff like that with a daytime schedule, as running the lawnmower in the middle of the night is frowned on around here. The trailer-park managers have been driving by on their golf cart and scowling at us a lot, so maybe doing a bit of upkeep in the yard will build a little bit of credit with them. I was riding my motorcycle out of the trailer park the other day and the manager stopped his golf cart on the road specifically to glare at me until several seconds after I went past him; perhaps he was trying to ensure I didn't exceed the posted 13 mph speed limit?

We've started in on our birthday/Christmas presents for each other early this year so we can make sure to have enough to get each other something. I got Madden 09 for my PS2, probably the other half of my gift will be the Warhammer 40k: Assault on Black Reach set. The Warhammer 40k set should be discounted a fair bit from the MSRP and I've also been saving a $5 off coupon in anticipation of its release. I think my wife wants a serger (some kind of sewing gadget) but she has been noncommittal about it the last couple of days so we'll see if that's what she ends up getting. We've decided not to try surprising each other as it makes more sense to get things we actually want rather than taking a gamble on a guess. When you have a focused sort of hobby it's difficult for people to really guess exactly what you want; ask for miniatures and you're likely to get a bunch of well-meant gifts of figures in scales or armies that you don't play. I think it's the same with any hobby, whether it's a niche hobby like wargaming or something more mainstream like golf.

23 August 2008

I started my new job this week; so far it's been okay. I'm getting the hang of the work and hopefully not screwing it up too much. I got into the office fantasy football league that drafts tomorrow. I'm not sure how hardcore all of the people in the league are, so that makes things interesting. One good thing about the new job is that about half of the people I work with are people I've worked with on the National Guard side of things, so it's a little less awkward socially than just leaping into a new group of people. Probably the worst part of the job is making phone calls. I have a pathological hatred of the telephone; I'd almost rather do anything than make a phone call. But I've been able to make the necessary calls and even deal with some very irate people. And in other job-related news; this morning I rode my motorcycle to work, which is the first time I've had the bike out on the interstate. It was a bit anti-climactic, as things weren't nearly as crazy as I thought they'd be. I also got to wear my awesome reflective vest with the removable Velcro ID badge pocket. And I got a tank bag to carry my base pass and various small items in. And I stuck a bunch of reflective tape on my backpack. So in theory I'm at least a little bit more visible out on the highway.

I think I posted a while ago about getting a miscast jeep in my Flames of War Tank Destroyer Platoon. Today I got an envelope in the mail containing a blister pack of three jeeps, so Battlefront's US contact certainly gets a thumbs-up in the customer service department. This jeep pack has some nice little bits, like optional soft-tops for the jeeps or machine guns that can be mounted on the vehicles. I'm pretty happy about that.

And here's a scary story that happened to us yesterday. I got home from work about ten minutes before my wife. When I opened the door I was greeted by the sight of a rather lagre pile of dog poo on the floor. Then I looked around the living room and saw that it was all over; on the floor, on the couches, and trailing into the kitchen. There was more in the back corner of the kitchen. Our Labrador was staying close to me, but our Bassett Hound still hadn't come out to greet me. I called him a few times and he slowly came out of the back room with his head down. I sent the dogs outside and called my wife to warn her before she got home. The poo trailed off down the hall and into the computer room, where there was a big deposit under my desk. Worst of all, Buddy had stood on top of my pants and left a big load directly on top of them and then run across a bunch of baby clothes, leaving a trail of ooze all over them. It took us 1 1/2 hours and a couple bottles of cleaning products to get it all mopped up, plus several loads of laundry and we'll probably have to rent some sort of high-powered cleaning machine to really get it all. I have no idea how that dog could produce so much waste. I think the main reason for the explosion was that he gets very worked up whenever our routine changes. The first time we really left him in the house without kenneling him, he climbed on our bed and peed on my wife's pillow. At the vet's office he climbed on my lap and peed on me. When we moved the furniture around he peed on the floor. When he was a very little puppy I went into the bathroom for a few minutes and when I came back out a few minutes later he had left a dookie on the floor and run back and forth through it, covering the entire hallway with nasty little footprints. And when I didn't emerge from the bedroom in the late morning or early afternoon he must have panicked and run around the house letting his bodily functions go. I think he's over it now. Supposedly having a pet adds seven years to a person's life expectancy, but I think owning Buddy is exactly the opposite. Still, he's my dog and I can't really fault him. We should have anticipated that he would be stressed out by my absence and brought his kennel back in from the shed for a few days while he got used to the idea of me being gone in the daytime.

16 August 2008

I planned on posting something tonight but got caught up in watching clips of TV shows on Youtube and forgot what I wanted to blog about. So I'll probably just go to bed.

15 August 2008

The U.S. finally got gold and silver medals in gymnastics last night, and the finish of the Women's All-Around event actually had some tension to it. It seemed like the judges were being overly biased and giving extra points to the Chinese team (and really I think one of the Russians should have taken the bronze over the Chinese gymnast) that the other teams weren't getting. It was to the point that the commentators actually started discussing that maybe some gymnasts were getting a little help from the judges, as the judges were ignoring very obvious mistakes that the Chinese made while really nitpicking the other teams. I'm not talking about little errors in form and whatnot, but balance checks and stumbles that even an uneducated oaf like myself could see. But the Americans turned in a couple of very good rotations at the end and came out with the gold and silver medals. One of the best things about the women's competition was that there wasn't all of the trash-talking that the men (especially the American men) were doing. The competitors all shook hands and hugged after routines, and kept up a friendly banter throughout the event. It appeared that they had genuine excitement after a good routine and felt genuinely sorry when someone had a bad routine, no matter which country the other person represented. A little sportsmanship goes a long way.

13 August 2008

I did a little more painting on my Orcs tonight. Not much, as I kept getting drawn into the TV rather than focusing on the painting. No really exciting stuff from the Olympics coverage. The US Men's Swimming team got some more gold medals. I think the Women's Swimming team got a couple of medals. The Women's Gymnastics team had a chance to take the team gold from China and they blew it in spectacular fashion. I need to keep better notes of what colors I use when painting as there are a few areas on these Orcs that I have no idea what I did on the first batch.

12 August 2008

I did a little bit of work on my Orcs tonight; just starting on painting their weapons. I probably could have finished the weapons but I lost interest and set the figures aside while I watched some more Olympic coverage.

It looks like I'm going to take the job out at the military base. It will be at the lower pay rate, so I'll be taking a $0.62 per hour pay cut, but I'll be getting ten to twelve more hours per week and that should result in me pulling in about $600 extra per month. My current job will also keep me on part-time status with another 10-15 hours a week, so we should be able to save up some money for the arrival of the baby. I'm a bit nervous about changing jobs; my wife can attest to the fact that I don't take changes to my routine very well, but this should wind up being a good move for us.

Part of tonight's Olympic coverage was the Men's Team Gymnastics finals. The US took the Bronze medal which was apparently a lot better than they were expected to do. I didn't find the competition to be very exciting and the US team seemed a little bit cocky for how outmatched they were by the Chinese and Japanese teams. All of their soundbites made me less interested in seeing them do well. And what is with volleyball teams group-hugging each other after every point? It seems a little excessive to be hugging each other up to 25 times per set. The winning team for any match will have to hug each other a minimum of 75 times; more if they are beaten on one or two sets. It wastes time and it's annoying to watch. Swimming has become my favorite Olympic sport by a long shot at the moment. There seems to be more action than in the other sports that have been getting airtime recently. It doesn't hurt that the Americans are pulling in quite a few medals in the water.

Hobbytown has a copy of the upcoming Warhammer 40k: Assault on Black Reach starter set in the display case with all of the components laid out for looking at. There is definitely a lot of stuff on the sprues, and I'm pretty pumped up to hopefully snag one of the boxes.