Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I was thinking about the coaching change over at MSU and the long causal tail that one firing fosters. Coaching must be one of the most incestuous professions there is. Dantonio coached under Tressel at Youngstown State and at Ohio State when both teams made their championship runs. Between the two he spent some time under Nick Saban at Michigan State. He now returns to State as head coach, leaving his head coaching job at Cincinnati. Now, at least once each season, he'll be standing across the field from his old mentor. And Dantonio's linebackers coach? Tressel's nephew.
Meanwhile, Brian Kelly, supposedly President Simon's first choice for State, is leaving Central Michigan - a team he took from the gutter to the MAC championship in three years - for Dantonio's old job. His first task as the Bearcats' leader? Helping prepare them for their bowl game against Western Michigan - the Chippewas' most hated rival.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
| You scored as Storyteller. The Storyteller is in it for the plot: the sense of mystery and the fun of participating in a narrative that has the satisfying arc of a good book or movie. He enjoys interacting with well-defined NPCs, even preferring antagonists who have genuine motivations and personality to mere monsters. To the Storyteller, the greatest reward of the game is participating in a compelling story with interesting and unpredictable plot threads, in which his actions and those of his fellow characters determine the resolution.|
With apologies to Robin Laws.
What RPG Player (Not Character) Type Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com
Thursday, November 09, 2006
1. Check out LibraryThing. I'm writing about it for my "Social Systems & Collections" course paper and have found it to be an interesting, even fun, concept. Look for a LibraryThing button to appear around here before too long.
2. Proposal 2. I really want to write something about Proposal 2, but considering the gravity of the subject, it'll probably wait until I've better collected my thoughts. In fact I want to write something about all of the recently voted-on proposals. But, being a student at Michigan, I've seen the center of the storm around 2.
3. No word on who's going to take John L's place on the sideline. There's lots of talk about Mooch and I've even heard mention of Michigan's defensive coordinator. I can't say either would dissapoint me. As my Dad and I discusses, after four years of a high flying, electric spread offense, perhaps it's time for State to return to a more traditional balanced attack. Caulcrick would make for perhaps the most talented carrying fullback in the league, and with him as a blocker, Ringer, Jimmerson or Khan would be outright deadly. If Hoyer was only a bit more mobile and our offensive line stronger, I might actually find myself advocating an occasional triple option offense! :o
On a related note, Izzo's comments about the role he should have taken in fostering John L's acclimation to State are interesting. I've long advocated that Smith just wasn't getting the support from the school that he needed, with the institution seemingly just assuming that he could fix a bad situation all by himself. I hope that whoever the new guy is, Izzo and the rest of the fixture coaches are there to offer some advice and friendly encouragement.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
These are all aspects of John L. Smith's tenure as Michigan State's head coach. But these are only concerns for historians now, as Sparty has decided to take a different path next year. So, as this post's title notes, the Green and White will be lead by their fourth coach in twelve years next season.
Some say this was inevitable and the program really doesn't have what it takes to be great. As a long suffering fan of State, not to mention an alumnus, I pray this isn't the case and hope that it's just going to take a coach who brings innovation in more than just offensive scheme to turn things around. I wonder if Coach Kelly would be interested in moving up another rung to a big time conference.
Friday, October 27, 2006
As the first project must have been something of a success, Wolfgang has embarked on a second, which I have once again contributed to. This time, the response has been much greater. Whether it be a greater awareness of the project by the "press" element of the industry, chatter on forums or envious group members who have been eyeing their DM's copy of Steam & Brass, Wolfgang has received a greater response than he did at this time in the first project. Apparently, several of these new patrons, having missed out on S&B, have inquired about the possibility of buying that module. This obviously poses something of a dilemma for Wolfgang. Obviously, the potential for new sources of profit are extremely enticing. However, this project was launched to test the viability of a patronage model, which by its very definition assumes financial support, either in full or enough to prompt iniative, up front. The alternative, creating a product with the hopes that people will buy it after completion is essentially the traditional commercial model.
In what I felt was a very classy move, Wolfgang posed this dilemma to us, the initial patrons. While my first thought was to echo what many others have said - the more people able to get their hands on the work and thereby foster future works is a good thing - I've since begun to rethink that stance. Academically, as noted above, allowing latecomers to purchase the product deviates from the concept of a true patronage model. Of course, while this was an experiment on Wolfgang's part, I recognize that this is a source of income for him and academic implications are probably a distant second, or non-existant, concern.
My second, and less lofty, reason for questioning distribution stems from the slight twinge of irritation I feel when considering distribution to late-comers. As I noted above, having an exclusive product was originally only an added bonus. The possibility of having that exclusivity diluted, no matter by how little, irks me. I realize this is an irrational and selfish response, and I'd like to stress that I'm normally a very community-oriented individual. However, this response really isn't all that suprising when one considers the intent behind historic patronage systems. The wealthy benefactors of the arts didn't commission works for distribution to the public, but to own something unique. The inclusion of these works in museums where all could behold them was a later development. Sure there were privately funded works for the "public good" - one merely need look at the frescoes adorning any a number of European cathedral walls - but these were just as much a marketing tool for the family name than anything else.
While I found supporting this experiment rewarding, at the end of the day it is the possession of something unique that vindicates my decision to be a patron. Sure, the product is of outstandingly high quality, but the reality is that I could only hope for such a result when I first made payment. I was taken with Wolfgang's vision, shared that vision, and decided to take a risk - even if nominal - to see it through. Allowing latecomers to benefit from the gamble of early investors seems somewhat wrong.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Speaking of which, how about that game last weekend? 38 unanswered points?! Largest come-back win in D1A history?! Frickin' beautiful. Of course, we never should have gotten that far behind against Northwestern in the first place, but watching Drew run that hurry-up offense was liking watching a skilled conductor. If I could recommend anything to Dave Baldwin, it would be to go no-huddle from play one. Go Green!
But what bothered me about this article was the perspective from which it was written. A fan from San Francisco? I mean, I'm sure they exist, but the Tigers aren't exactly the Yankees. Or the Cowboys. Or the Lakers. Or Notre Dame. Or any other team that has made a profession out of marketing themselves as "America's Team." And Detroiters like it that way. The infotainment, entertainment and pseudo-legitimate news sources of our nation have used Detroit as the easy joke for years now and, under such a barrage, Detroiters have stopped hating each other long enough to circle the wagons. We hate bandwagon fans. We love that you dismiss our city's gems when casually disparaging it as a dump. And we want you to root for the other team, no matter who they are, so we can stand even more defiantly proud when the Tigers take it all.
Oh, and to my non-existant readers, sorry for the disappearance. I'm back, with a whole new bag of rants.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
"Good lord, what is that?" Anybody who knows me would likely find that to be a particulary apt question when finding that block letter monstrosity adorning MY blog. Afterall, I'm a third generation Spartan. I own season tickets to Spartan Stadium. A miniature green and white football helmet dangles from my rear view mirror.
But the time has come to announce to the world (or whoever happens upon this blog), that I will be joining the ranks of that most respected - and reviled - academic institution, the University of Michigan. And that block M is going to be something that I'll have to get used to seeing everywhere I turn.
But I swear, if anybody should see me in any maize and blue garb other that a School of Information t-shirt, please jolt my loyalties back into alignment with a thorough dousing in the Red Cedar.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
While I hope my darn education will eventually afford me such a posh reclusiam, for now I make do with this setup.
My painting table. That tiny sliver of free space you see in front of the crowd of paint pots is where I do my painting. As you can see, less than optimal. Currently being worked on is the unit of 4 Karnophages that were to be my "quick paintjob" experiment. At least the intentions were good.
Staging area and convenient home for my laptop when IMing Julie while painting.
My ad hoc photography setup. It has actually allowed me to achieve better photos than I ever have before. The addition of another flexible lamp will probably make it even more effective. I'd love to get a diffusion box, but, once again, that's a future purchase.
Though not really part of my painting station, I figured I'd include this pic for completeness' sake. The stack, from bottom to top are:
1. Rubbermaid container filled with misc. sprues from plastic kits.
2. Rubbermaid container filled with unpainted terrain - mostly Armorcast.
3. A stack of perfectly sized foam just waiting to be converted into hills, ruined buildings and other types of terrain.
Another recent revived thread over at is the "How Many Figures Do You Own" question. While organizing my collection, I think I might just have to figure that one out. While I know it's probably far less than at its peak, I think I'm still frightened to find out the truth! :)
Thursday, May 18, 2006
But, go Tigers! Lord it's nice to be able to flip to ESPN for a recap and see that the Tiggers have notched another win.
107 days until the Green and White kicks off again. I can't wait.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Not much of an update here, just a quick shot of what one of the 4 Karnophages looks like. They're all at this intermediate stage and will probably receive one more extreme highlight before I start toning them down and bringing their colors together with some washes and glazes.
Though I seem to have gotten the hang of using my camera and lighting setup to get semi-decent closeup pictures I have to admit that I'm more than a bit disappointed by the lack of contrast apparent. Ah well, everyday is a lesson, eh?
BTW, completely off topic, but listening to iTunes as I type this, I can't help but note that I have developed a renewed respect for the Ben Folds Five. And Stiff Little Fingers kicks ass. If "At the Edge" doesn't make you want to don a Union Jack and burn cars, you're not alive. Or, at least, not a Spartan. :)
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Alright, quick update here. Basecoat, first shading wash, and first highlight coat on all four Karnophages. That's an example of one of them to the left. Though I wasn't sure about it at first, the picture has reaffirmed my concerns that I really need to step the highlights up some in order to get sufficient contrast to make the details pop.
After working on display quality (at least at my skill) figures for so long now, I'm finding this tabletop quality painting stuff to be a bit tricky. I'm constantly tempted to pull out my detail brush and spend an hour on each coat of the figure, but the three others waiting for their turn are enough to thwart such urges. I can't even imagine having an army to do. However, my tendency to instead grab a larger brush and paint in quick strokes has so far been less that satisfactory. I think these figures are going to be a great learning experience for me.
Jotting down a quick list at work today of what my painting targets are, I've decided upon a Warzone focus for a bit before turning my attention to producing some quality terrain for once and finally dedicating a good chunk of time to my GenCon competition entries. To that end, I'm going to endeavor to finish the following in the next few weeks:
4 Karnophages (started)
1 Praetorian Stalker
1 Carnal Harvester
You know, as much as I love the Warzone mythos, reading that list I can't help but chuckle at some of those names (Carnal Harvester?!?). :)
Sunday, April 30, 2006
But, it was not to be. To my dismay, the impact was accompanied by a snap and the base spinning away from the figure. Chastising myself for not doing a better job of attaching the figure to the base (which would normally be the cause of such a fracture), I was suprised to find that the figure had instead cracked right at the ankle. Whatever pig iron alloy Excelsior was using to cast their figures, it was less durable then the epoxy used to glue his now bodiless foot to the base.
The amputee was thus treated to more time under the sculpting tool as I reposed him to place both feet on the ground and resculpted the mangled ankle joint. Perhaps foolishly, I failed to go back and take preventive measures to keep the same fate from befalling the other figure with a raised foot. Though I don't make a habit of dropping figures, I'll nonetheless have to take care.
Since this extra work means that I've only just put the first coat of paint on the figures (intending to, but forgetting, to take pictures of the figures with their resculpted joints), I decided to take advantage of my new lighting setup to snap some pictures of another relatively recent paintjob of mine. A Dark Apostle of the Word Bearers chapter of chaos space marines, the figures is made of the Grey Knight character model body, the head of a fantasy sorceror, a plastic power fist and the mace wielding hand of a fantasy chaos knight. As an homage to my old Dark Angels army, a battered and dirty Dark Angels shoulder pad can be seen lodged in the dirt.
Though memory fails me somewhat, I believe this figure was painted between my second and third years of law school - or, almost two years ago. Like my Grey Knight, he was painted just for the heck of it, though I did enter him into a painting competition at one of the local GW stores. He didn't win, but I'm still generally pleased with how he came out. The red and gold areas are a bit flat looking and could have done with some more severe highlighting. The gem on his left shoulder I am extremely pleased with however. I think I managed to pull off the reflective effect pretty well. All in all, I think he makes for a great adversary for my previously posted Grey Knight.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
I'll let the epoxy harden overnight to be on the safe side (even though it is 15 minute set) and tackle the sculpting, basing materials and priming tomorrow. That coupled with a trip to the D for my brother-in-law's birthday on Saturday means these guys likely won't be seeing any paint until Sunday. With any luck I'll be able to get a good few hours in then and knock out most of the flesh.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
First WIP picture here. Figures filed clean of mold lines and flash, scrubbed of any mold release residue and holes drilled to pin their reposed arms on (pin already inserted in one).
Following a night of air drying new biceps will be sculpted on the reposed arms, they'll be based, primed and ready to go. Painting hopefully to begin Friday evening (yeah, I have that exciting of a life that I'll be painting on a Friday evening).
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
So, after a day of reflection, I've decided that assembly lining 13 figures might not be the best way to ease myself out of display painting and into army painting. Thus, I've decided to instead work on a unit of four Karnophages - depraved mutations of human beings that stem from the same storyline as the previously mentioned Bauhaus Hussars. That beauty to the left is an example of one. :)
These guys are something of a mainstay of the whole Warzone mythos, and as such, I had painted a unit of six of them (seen below) way back in the day. My painting style has changed much since then and my skill has vastly improved. Thus, even though I intend to speed my way through these guys, I hope for a far better result.
Never content to leave my toys the way the manufacturer intended them, I've since bent arms in much the say way I had my original figures in order to ward off my most hated of miniature flaws - repetitive poses. Unfortunately, it appears that Excelsior made use of a cheaper, far more brittle alloy than Heartbreaker, and all of my reposing efforts have instead left me with broken limbs. A bit of pinning and resculpting shouldn't take more than an hour or two though, so I'll hopefully have first stage work in progress pics up by the end of this week.
Monday, April 24, 2006
So, after tinkering with this figure for the last two months (honestly, I was making steady but slow progress the whole time) and a considerable amount of butt-kicking by Julie, I present to you my latest painted figure: a Grey Knight space marine in Terminator Armor.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the figure consists of the body of a classic Grey Knight Terminator model which I've had lying around since I started playing 40K with arms from one of the recently resculpted Grey Knight Terminators. Though the new figures' weapons have a different configuration to the old, I rather like the way they add some bulk to the figure and make him more imposing than the original.
Though you can only somewhat see it in these pictures, I'm particularly pleased with the way the based came out. Built out of layered plasticard, it took more effort than any previous basing attempt. But, I think the results speak volumes for the merits of such an endeavor.
This is a closeup shot of the Nemesis sword. It's my first attempt at duplicating Tom Schadle's style (www.minivault.com) and while I'm generally please with how it came out, it's obvious that i have a lot of work ahead of me yet. It was also a great lesson in just trying to paint a darn straight line which I'm finding my twitchy X-Box afflicted hands are none to skilled at.
All in all, I've got to say that I have really enjoyed painting Jolie and this figure. I've taken far longer on each than I ever have before and it's made the whole process somewhat therapeutic. A far cry from the feverish marathons that I often subjected myself to pre-convention. Of course, the mountain of bare pewter strewn about my painting desk is a distinct reminder that I don't have the luxury to paint at this pace if I'm to make a dent in my collection. Thus, I'll be reversing gears on my next project and assembly line painting 13 Bauhaus Hussars for Warzone. I'll get initial pics up once they've been cleaned and based.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Though Thom and his various staff at Excelsior had a great love for the game, the company seemed to be in over their head from the beginning. The two games carry a miniatures catalog that dwarfs most of their competitors and EE seemed hellbent on continuing to keep everyone of these figures in production. Not only was this a bad idea due to the aesthetics of many of these figures, it was a bad idea from a sales perspective. Considering how many stores felt they were "burned" by the demise of Target (I'm still confused how the collapse of that company was any worse for retailers than any other), attempting to convince retailers to restock the product was already going to be a challenge. But, when you throw the sheer scale of the product line at them, with no discernable way of determining what would constitute a good introductory stock, you're bound to be less than successful in your pitch.
But perhaps the biggest blunders were the catastrophies known as Chronopia 2nd Ed. and Ultimate Warzone. Now, I understand the desire to leave one's mark on a license as well as the belief that the travesties committed to a game by previous designers needed to be remedied. But, with a company with as few financial resources as EE, investing in the production of these rulebooks was a foolish endeavor. And the final product? Hardly worth the effort due to an absolutely amateurish presentation.
Of course, I'm a bit biased here. As someone who was tied to Target Games in their heyday, and a devoted supporter of 1st Ed. Warzone and Chronopia, I felt EE's efforts constituted the same affronts to my beloved games that they felt the Edinburgh studio had committed. Nevermind the fact that the 2nd Ed. Chronopia rules made blatant use of a rules mechanic I drafted without credit, the games were taken in a direction - both rules and storywise - that I found contrary to my vision. As only a gamer, I suppose there's not much I should expect to be able to do about such situations.
With Paradox's revocation of EE's license, fans of the various incarnations of these games face another period of uncertainty and potential change. Those that cut their teeth on 2nd Ed. Chronopia and Ultimate Warzone will no doubt object when the new licensee takes the games into a direction that they, as gamers, always thought more appropriate. Or even worse, gamers could find their favorite games existing in name only, as these new licensees, completely unfamiliar with the history of either game, simply choose to ride an established - though tarnished - intellectual property in an effort to introduce their own set of rules. Regardless of the outcome, for a long-time WZ and Chronopia gamer such as myself, the outlook is no doubt dreary.
Thus, I once again find myself sighing in disappointment as another cornerstone of my gaming experience comes up for bid and I'm too financially strapped to throw myself into the mix.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Seriously, Nascar. Am I missing something here? I thought it's bubble came and went with the masses of unsold diecast cars bowing the shelves in Walmart's toy department.
But now I can't turn on my favorite local sports radio station without getting Nascar updates and ESPN has Chris Fowler anchoring live from the Daytona 500 a la GameDay style. I grumbled discontentedly enough when college basketball was being given the Fall saturday morning treatement on ESPN, but to see the same being extended to a "sport" that would bore even the most rabid of car-chasing dogs - ridiculous. It's like turning to the Westminster Dog Show and finding that the competition now includes dog fighting.
Of course, this is the same American audience that has chosen American Idol over the Olympics - even after that venerable athletic event chose to pander to the lowest common denominator by introducing a slew of "totally rad extreme" events.
*sigh* I think I'm getting old.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Julie, I hope you like her.
Next I'll be moving from the fantasy genre into the sci-fi, putting together an old Grey Knight terminator I found in my bitz box. The figure is sans arms, so I'll be updating him a bit by using arms from one of the new Grey Knights. As I've enjoyed this whole blogging process, I'll probably do the same with this fig.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Along the way, I've developed a neat little technique. As I've yet to grasp the whole NMM (non-metallic metal) method, I still do most of my metal work with metallic flake paints. However, as I wanted Jolie's colors to pop, I chose to highlight the gold areas with yellow rather than a lighter gold or silver. I'm very pleased with the results, and will be sure to try it out on a larger area.
Hopefully, finished pics will be posted by this weekend. Until then, check out her bum. :)
Sunday, January 29, 2006
At this pace, I should be done with her in another week or so. That seems like a slow pace, and even for me, it is. Apparently, law school's impact on my ability to sit still for hours on end has affected more than just my ability to study. I dread the idea of ever trying to paint an army again.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
It was in one of these notebooks that I came across a page of scribbling that unleashed a wave of melancholy about me, washing me into a pool of disappointment. In my pre-law school years, and to some extent today, I had a tendency to write to-do lists for nearly everything. Simply organizing my tasks into an easily checked-off format seemed to provide both the necessary motivation, and feeling of accomplishment, that was necessary to get me off my duff. While most such lists laid out my action plan for the day, or perhaps the coming weekend or work week, some were a bit more ambitious. The page of scribbling that I stumbled upon, was a list of the latter type.
Written at the start of the winter semester of my junior year, this to-do list stretched to graduation and beyond. It promised a busy final year and a half of school, directing me to redouble my efforts as a beat reporter for the weekly rag that employed me, commit to covering news for the college radio station, take an advertising job with the school paper, pursue freelance activity at a variety of local publications and finally set about writing my own, much reflected upon, set of miniatures rules and screenplay. A lofty set of expectations indeed, but all easily accomplished by an ambitious student.
Unfortunately, I accomplished not a one. Within 7 months I would write my last article for the paper, deciding that I didn't enjoy having to cover the boring school board and city council meetings I was assigned to. After only two appearances, I chose to terminate my involvement with the radio station, finding the production deadlines to be too much of a hassle and thinking that my voice sounded terrible on the air. My freelance writing career never took off, mainly because I was too lazy too dig up stories on my own and partly because I was too intimidated to claim to an editor that I was competent enough to do the job. And my miniatures game and screenplay? Those are still nothing but notes in notebooks accompanying this action plan.
Striving to achieve while in law school and being surrounded by peers who were accomplished in undergrad had already made me reflect on my time at Oakland with some regret. Coming across this list compounded that emotion. In retrospect, I cannot understand how I allowed myself to be such an apathetic student and it makes me even more envious of the experiences that my peers had. Julie notes that I still have time to make good on some of these objectives, and I know that my law school involvement makes even the ambitious jealous, but I still cannot help but feel that I pissed away what should have been the most important and formative four years of my life. :(
Sunday, January 22, 2006
As you can see, Jolie is still very much a work in progress. The stonework on the base is more or less done, but will no doubt be touched up again towards the end. The underrobe, which will ultimately be a cool white in color, is mostly done, just requiring a pure white highlight or two. The overrobe, which is only basecoated now, will be Spartan green with gold accents.
Future pictures will be better than my ramblings, so I'll get back to work. Again, feel free to comment or criticize.
Monday, January 16, 2006
This isn't exactly the easiest thing to disclose to the woman you're trying to woo. The looks of disdain would be classic, if they weren't directed at me. Fortunately, I've been lucky enough to find a gal that not only hits on every cylinder for me (hmm, dirty connotations there?), she has half-heartedly accepted my darker, dorkier side.
In an attempt to cultivate this acceptance, I suggested she try her hand at painting a figure. (In retrospect, maybe she suggested it) Afterall, painting is just painting, right? And, as long as I didn't pick out a BFG wielding death knight space marine, the "That's wierd" quotient should be removed.
Fortunately, she jumped at the idea, and, after flipping through Reaper's online catalog, settled on the figure to the left here. I thought it was a great choice - only later would I realize how fateful the selection was.
You see, my girl is brilliant, and works as a research librarian for a prominent law firm. (That's right, hot and a librarian) The coincidence that the figure that she picked just happened to be a scribe, was not lost on either of us. However, her selection was made based only on the pre-release "green" pictures of the figure, which was unnamed at the time. So, when the figure hit retail, with the name "Jolie" printed on the packaging, I couldn't help but grin. You see, this hot librarian that's been gracing me with her presence, her name's Julie.
Unfortunately, career pursuits have seen the two of us separated by Ohio (all the more reason it has earned my bitter enmity) for more than a year now. With her blessings, and in an attempt to at least create an avatar of her, I'll be painting this figure over the next little while. During this process, both to keep her updated on my progress, and to actually post something to this blog besides my random ramblings, I'll be posting work in progess shots of Jolie. Please, feel free to comment or critique my work.