Monday, October 22, 2007

Seriously, I am alive!

Hmm, it’s beginning to look as though a multiple month gap is becoming the normal amount of spacing between a flurry of postings. I promised myself I wouldn’t become that kind of blogger but it appears I failed. I’ve had good excuses though, honestly. The new school semester started, and though I’m taking fewer classes than previously, I’m also now working a steady number of hours per week. The classes that I am taking are also tending to require a greater amount of out of class time than before as well. In particular, I am following the Ph.D. requirements for my information policy class, which thus tasks me with creating comprehensive reading notes on assignments that are typically better than 100 pages a week. Compared to law school that seems like cake, but I guess I’m just no longer in that sort of academic shape.

Speaking of being in shape, another recent timesoak for me has been running. A friend convinced me to join a relay team for the Detroit marathon, and though I was running the shortest leg, my out of shape ass required a fair amount of whipping just to be able to accomplish that. The marathon was this past Sunday though and I am happy to say that our team did rather well – 63 out of better than 170 teams in our category. Go Hi-Five Trotters! It was a great, if painful, experience and I fully intend on making running a regular part of my routine. Next year, the solo half marathon.

Tack on my Saturday obligation to Michigan State football, an occasional foray into the digital realms of WOW and Guild Wars, and frequent visits to the Arena, the favored watering hole of a few of us, and it’s obvious to see where my time has gone.

But enough excuses about why I haven’t posted and back to what this blog was supposed to be about. Unfortunately the Totanem figure shown in my last post came no closer to completion than the application of a first base coat. Coated in nothing but a single layer of dark gray paint is how he has sat on my dresser since early August. However recent events have gotten me fired up to paint again. GenCon was a hugely successful event, even despite having nothing to enter into the painting contest. I picked up a ton more Heavy Gear stuff to flesh out my Peace River force. Impact miniatures had a deal I couldn’t refuse and I walked out with a full Valkyrie fantasy football team. While I immediately suffered buyer’s remorse, I realized it wasn’t a wasted purchase as I didn’t have a Blood Bowl team of any kind beyond the plastic humans and orcs that come with the game. I also picked up a variety of one offs just to paint – a Reaper fig, some cool trenchcoat clad gal from Rezolution, a handful of figures from Wyrd, and the beginnings of a fleet from Ninja Magic. This last purchase has me especially excited as my buddy from down under demoed Full Thrust and I found myself a particular fan of the rules. They’ll definitely be finding a home on my shelf next to Silent Death. I also got to try out the great Ironclad-era naval rules produced by Majestic 12 in a demo run by an old friend who authored the rules. Though I am unsure if that’s a genre I want to get into, the rules gave me tons of great ideas.

Speaking of ideas, I have three playing around in my head that I have great incentive to actually develop. The first is a set of 15mm mass combat rules that has existed as a seed in my head for a few years now. Talking to my GenCon buddies gave me a lot of inspiring concepts as well as a serious kick in the pants to get something produced. In fact, I believe I am reaching the deadline by which severe bodily harm was threatened if I hadn’t sent off early drafts for them to review. The other two products are a bit hush hush right now – yes, I am a dork like that – because both are things that I am hoping to turn into production quality projects. One, which I am working on with my good friend LordFishbane, I am particularly excited about.

But what about painting I hear you say. Have I resorted to nothing but buying miniatures and tinkering around with rules systems? Hell no! My Heavy Gear figures are grumbling to be assembled, my Spinespur thugs are begging for paint before their manufacturer folds, and, in a shocking turn of events, the release of Games Workshop’s Apocalypse rulebook has me so excited for 40K again that I’ve actually purchased a few new space marines and have dug through the refuse of my collection to see what I can scrounge together. Yes ladies and gentleman, after a 6 year hiatus, I am returning to my first miniatures game – though, to be exact, the game has gone through so many revisions since that point that it’s barely recognizable as the same game. It is on 40K that most of my initial painting efforts are going to be focused. Though I was originally planning on doing space marines from the Dark Angels chapter – my first army and still my favorite marines despite GW’s insistence that they now all parade around in silly robes over their powered armor – I have chosen to create my own chapter based upon an awesome paint scheme provided by a dear friend of mine. Thus the Wolfhounds are born and, as I have no desire to labor for hours on end on each individual marine, they will be the brave test subjects for my first forays into the “dipping” method of painting. I’ve seen a lot of really great results from this method and I think the intended color scheme will work well. Of course my character models, of which I plan to have many, will receive this treatment only on their armor (to maintain uniformity of appearance), and even that will subsequently receive substantial brush touchup.

So that’s it fair readers. Within days I hope to have pictures of my Wolfhound test model posted, followed up by progress shots of my army assembly. As I want to get these guys done quickly, I plan on working in large batches, probably assembling the entirety of the force in one go, and then painting to completion a full squad at a time. When all of that is finally finished, my attention will undoubtedly shift to Heavy Gear as I need to get my Peace River force completed before I can justify buying a Southern army for them to face off against. So, wish me luck and feel free to prod me along if you feel that I’m being less than productive.

Over and out.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

2 1/2 Weeks and Counting

While I've always been guilty of procrastinating on my GenCon painting competition entries, I think I'm being particularly bad this year. After planning out a number of entries aimed at targeting those categories that seem to receive the least attention - unit, large model and vehicle - I find myself with enough time to only work on an entry for the most competitive of categories - single figure. The lucky model is a Totanem hero from Crocodile Games' Wargods of Aegyptus range. I painted one a little while ago, also to be a GenCon entry, and enjoyed the process so much I figured I'd try my hand at another one. This time around I think I'm going to try for a light brown, sandstone type color, but we'll so how that goes as the paint goes on. Hopefully by tomorrow night I'll have some basecoat pictures up (properly lighted and with a backdrop of course), as a trip to Nashville this weekend means no painting will be getting done.

Monday, July 09, 2007

To Columbus and Back

So Saturday was a whirlwind trip to Columbus and back to drop in on the Origins gaming convention. A number of my friends - Tom, Jeff, Mark - were already there, having taken the time off to attend all four days of the con, but my work schedule and the amount of time I'll be taking in late July and through August didn't afford me the same option. So instead I was up at the crack of 4:30 and didn't get back to AA until 12:30. All in all it made for a long day, but it was a great time. As usual, the miniatures events were well presented (as you can see in the pics below), I got my hands on a copy of the 2nd Ed. Supersystem rules and got to chew the fat with the creator, and as a group we all bought into a new horror-themed skirmish game - Spinespur. Too be more accurate, the rest of the group bought into it, I just picked up the book with the hopes of using my existing figure collection to play it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Such a Loser

Four months. A third of a year. And no posts. Such a loser. Nothing like the depression and heartbreak of an ended relationship, the ensuing personal introspection, and the impending summer convention season to get me back into the swing of things though. As I did last summer, I intend to use my blog as a personal motivator towards getting some painting done. Of course, my Ann Arbor apartment doesn't have nearly the same facilities for my preferred painting setup, so we'll see how that goes.

I can't much start writing a painting blog without determining what I am going to paint, can I? No ma'am. Seeing as how I've recently piled up most of my figures for sale on eBay, keeping only a handful of figures that I either have gaming plans for or simply wanted to paint, my options this year were far more restricted. Additionally, as my target painting competition is the professional painter-dominated GenCon competition, I also knew that I had to pick entries that were in less popular categories. Afterall, at this point painting a figure for entry into the single figure category might as well be just painting that figure to sit on your shelf. Thus, the unit/squad and machines of war categories are where I'm probably going to target, with a large figure or two hopefully fit in there.

In something of a blend of these two categories, though definitely a squad entry, I will be painting up a squad of Dream Pod 9's Peace River heavy gears. I have always loved the Heavy Gear universe and the imagery of its figures, and the new Heavy Gear Blitz rules really grabbed ahold of me at last year's GenCon - which, incidentally, is where I picked this squad up. Yeah, I don't paint very fast, or very often. As I intend on playing Blitz in the future (one of the few minis games I am keeping) I'll also get a functional set of painted miniatures out of it. For now, these models are nothing but loose pieces of unassembled metal. Hopefully by the weekend I'll have assembled, and maybe even primed, pictures. In the meantime, if I happen to come across any other ideas for competition entries, I'll be sure to throw them up, for "someone" to give feedback on.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Excuses, excuses

This will be a pathetic blog entry, existing more to maintain my bond with the blog than to actually post anything substantive. Unfortunately, I haven't had much time or desire to sit down and write lately. Sure, I've had the ideas, just not the gumption. Between 17 credit hours this semester, two part-time jobs that eat up 26 hours of my free time, and my involvement with the University's Open Courseware project, I've been rendered a zombie in my downtime. Even mightly Muddflek has been neglected as my World of Warcraft icon goes unclicked. In fact, the account, and therefore the existence of my favorite orc warrior, will be terminated sometime in the next week. I should probably feel a bit sad, but I'm really just too tired.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ah, so that's why they can't win a bowl game

Watching Michigan end each of their recent seasons, regardless of how stellar they might have been, with a loss to bitter rival Ohio State and then whoever they are playing in whatever bowl game they're invited to has been something of a guily pleasure of late (though I admit that Julie's influence and my enrollment at the school has seen me occasionally rooting for the Skunkrats). Of course, as a Spartan, I can only dream of the day when my team only loses two games in a season, regardless of the games - provided neither are to Michigan. Instead, I find myself voicing the million "If only's" that every Stater does. If only Henne didn't have Braylon Edwards to lob passes to in 2004. If only the rain had continued against Notre Dame. These wishful excuses are part and parcel of wearing the green, and faithfully prompt snorts of derision from every Wolverine, Walmart or otherwise.

So, imagine my glee when I opened today's edition of the University rag to find a letter to the editor by a supportive alumni pointing out what we have all apparently missed. You see, this alumni claims, it's all a matter of statistics. The poor Wolverines have the odds stacked against them apparently, and this fact is manifested in two glaring examples - turf and distance.

As this astute alum notes, only two teams that play on a home field comprised of something other than natural grass have won the national championship in recent years. Power programs such as USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State (and may I add Michigan State) all play on natural grass. As the Big House doesn't contain natural grass, we obviously can't blame the Wolverines for losing to a team whose stadium does. Or something. What our friendly scholar fails to recognize however is a simple rule taught to every high school statistics student - a trend in raw stats is indicative of nothing more than coincidence. All of the programs he mentions are powerhouses packed with tradition regardless of the kind of field they play on. Until I see some research revealing that playing on artificial grass deteriorates a cornerback's speed such that they are left in the dust by USC wide receivers, Michigan fans might want to come up with another excuse.

The other reason given for why Michigan faced an impossible battle in a bowl game was the distance to the location. This is a point I can appreciate, but really only in the regular season. When Michigan State opens their season in Berkley, they won't have spent the previous week sightseeing. Teams forced to travel to Hawaii for the regular season have it even worse. But during the post-season, when most teams arrive to the bowl city early enough to transform their luxury hotel rooms into parodies of their dorm rooms, this just isn't an excuse. Ample opportunity is given to acclimate to the shift in time zone and climate. But by all means Michigan, please stay closer to home during the holidays. The Motor City Bowl and spanking new International Bowl would love to have you as a fixture each year and the Spartans would be more than happy holidaying in Pasadena.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Year, New Resolutions

I know you're supposed to make your New Year's resolutions early enough that you can have stated them and begun ignoring them by January 2nd, but after a splendid few days in Pittsburgh seeing the lovely and talented Julie and the early return to school (seriously, what university starts on the 4th?) I never quite got around to it. So I'll do it now. Now, as someone who once questioned the wisdom of 16 year old girls who laid out their lives in excruciating details on the web, I can understand that you, my non-existant readers, would be curious as to why I'd post this, or why you should care. The reality is that you probably shouldn't, but in compiling this list I've been forced to really consider what issues are pressing and, by putting it out here, I'll hopefully add some tangibility to the obligation. So, my New Year's resolutions are:

1. See Julie lots more. I'm not sure the importance of this need can be properly described but I need to work on ensuring that minor obstacles don't derail us seeing each with increasing regularity. The few days I was in Pittsburgh really reinforced how great a person she is and how much I enjoy the thought of spending the rest of my life with her. I'm truly a luck man.

2. Find a rocking internship. My post-law school job search made crystal clear my error in not seeking out practical experience before graduation. Employers are simply not willing to hire somebody based solely on their academic merits, regardless of the caliber of those merits. As I'll be finishing school just four months after my summer internship ends, finding one that opens potential career paths is another critical facet.

3. Rediscover my creativity. Somewhere along the way during the past six years I seem to have lost it. It could have occurred while slaving away in law school, during the frustrating year that I loaded semi trucks while looking for a job, or even earlier when my friends were displaced by a prima donna and her self-absorbed actor friends, but I'm not sure where it is anymore. Gone is the drive to sit down and write, replaced instead by the drive straight to the couch. And this at a time when Time declares "us" to be the person of the year due to "our" redoubled creative efforts facilitated by the accessability of new technologies of production and distribution.

Those would be the big three that have the potential of causing the greatest sea change in my current condition, though I do have the requisite number of typical goals - get back to the gym at least 3 days a week, drop another 2o lbs., get Muddflek to level 60, etc. Ok, maybe that last one isn't exactly typical outside of the geekosphere, but I think you get the idea.