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Archive for September, 2008

Call your Congresscritters!

September 29th, 2008 No comments

This so-called 'bail out bill' is obviously a hot topic, with a very short window for comments.

No matter if you're for or against the bill, I recommend you call your representatives (all of them) and have your opinion noted.  It's as easy as looking them up (Senators and Representatives) and calling their Washington office.  It doesn't take long, tell them where you stand (yes or no) and thank them for their time.

Obviously you're not going to talk to the big person.  You're going to get an aide.  So keep it brief and polite.  If you've just got to voice an opinion make the brief call then send an e-mail with your full comments.  Again, they probably won't go to the top but at least you've made your voice heard.

These people are elected to represent us but unless we tell them where we stand they can't know.  They're not going to come to you.  You have to make the effort to go to them.

Now, here's a warning.  After a couple of contacts they're going to be keeping track of you.  When you give your name they're going to confirm your address.  THIS IS NOT BAD.  This is good.  This shows that they know there are people in their district who care enough to contact them and give them feedback.

We're fortunate enough to have a representative government.  Use it!

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The way it always goes

September 25th, 2008 4 comments

I joined the demo team for Reaper Miniatures because I love their paints and minis and I've been upgraded to running the paint events at my local store.  Since I'm doing demos and events anyway I might as well earn points for them, right?

They also have a ruleset for a miniatures game that uses their miniature lines.  Not a shabby idea and I've liked the game the few times I've gotten to play it.

I do have figures for armies for myself but I really don't want to subject them to the hamfisted local gamers on a regular basis.  With the points I had banked up and some advice from experienced players/demo team members I settled on the basic composition of a demo army:

Sergeant
4 swordsmen
2 archers
2 spearmen

Monster

I was on the fence about the monster but was persuaded by "They look cool on the table and bring people over to see what's going on."  Good enough for me.

I created my rosters and then placed my order for three demo armies (three different factions).  Which arrived yesterday.  Yay packages!

I started to sort out the minis so I had all the different factions separated and when I sat down to paint I could grab-and-go.  But something was odd about the elf figures and what ones were in the package.  I checked my order and found out that somehow I only ordered archers.  No swordsmen, no spearmen.  Hrm.  That ain't gonna work.

Oh well, I'll fix it with my next order and use the extra archers as giveaway figures to people who show up and play the game.  Not a big deal at all and what the points are there to be used for.

Which leads me to the "The way it always goes" part of this post.

Elves were the only faction with a defined color scheme right now.  I hadn't thought out color schemes for the two other factions, thinking I could do that while I painted up the elves.  (Note – I'm painting the demo armies in the same colors as my personal armies.)  Now all the figures I really can paint and complete are ones where I don't know what colors I want to use.

I went into a couple of online chats about this kind of thing and got ideas.  I looked at what other people used for those factions.  I know I don't want to use the colors that are used in the rule book as everyone seems to use them and it isn't required to use any particular color.  Plus, I don't have a personal army for one of the factions.  So that color scheme has to stand alone and not be similar to any of the other ones.

I'm hoping to spray some primer on some minis to use as test subjects for the color schemes.  Then I can have the dual satisfaction of seeing how the color scheme works and getting a mini painted.

By the way.  The faction I'm working on first is the Crusaders so it's a lot of guys in armor.  Armor is easy for fast painting.  They have the flowing skirt-things (tabards or some such) to soften them up a bit.  I'm looking at ivory as the main color for those, accented with a light green.  And then the armor being mostly gold/brass/bronze.  My original scheme had a brighter, warm green instead of the light green but when I looked at the figures it would have put the green and gold too close for comfort and made me think of the Green Bay Packers.  Not a totally bad thing but not what I wanted on my gaming table.  Plus the other faction that I did order correctly is Overlords which is more guys in armor.  They're getting silver armor (I have a personal army of those but haven't settled on a color scheme.  I'm thinking orange.  Maybe.) and I needed the other set of armored dudes to contrast on the table.  Otherwise it would have been rather confusing and monotonous.

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It’s me!

September 19th, 2008 No comments
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Yeah, well

September 19th, 2008 No comments

Mr. Rastl took a day off work to get things done that had been piling up.  And he did pretty darn good.

I took a day off work to get things done that had been piling up.  I suck.

At least I got all the completed cardstock terrain put away before it got destroyed.  And the terrain in progress (aka – printed out) is all gathered up and put away for later.

I ended up doing some computer maintenance that I had been putting off as well.

But I got nothing done that I expected to get done for camping this weekend.  I would have except that there was a party for the neighbor going back to a sandy place and well, I like that neighbor.

So I'll get a few things done yet tonight and work like heck tomorrow.  Mr. Rastl is leaving work early since for some reason the days are getting shorter and it's darn difficult to get the camper set up in the dark.  So I need to leave work early and be ready ASAP.  Such rushing about does not please me, but there's nothing to be done for it.

On a related note.  A friend stopped by to pick up some gaming supplies and as we talked I realized just how little free time I have any more.  Pretty much every weeknight is earmarked and most weekends are already booked.  I'm hoping the weekend thing frees up somewhat after camping season is over but nature abhors a vacuum so I know there's stuff waiting in the wings to fill what used to be camping time.

I miss the days when I had nothing to do and plenty of time to do it.  I wonder what changed?

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Another lost weekend

September 15th, 2008 No comments

Well, not really lost.  Just not as productive as I would have liked.

I had set up a class for army painting at my local game store for Saturday.  As of Wednesday three of the eight slots had takers.  One of them did not belong in the class (rather hyper kid from the Wednesday paint night without an army), one was an unknown, and one was someone from my gaming group.  So I had two and was hoping for a walk-in or two.

Well, as of 20 minutes past the start time I had no one.  I have a conservative approach to classes like this and didn't bother to set up anything until I knew I had at least one person.  So packing up wasn't hard.  I did some necessary but boring shopping instead.

I did get some painting done on Saturday night on some long-overdue figs for someone else.  I truly hate the models which is why I haven't done them yet.  Two of the four seem done, one is almost done and one hasn't been started.  Really now, if you were sending out figs for a group army painting project wouldn't you send the SAME FIGURE to the person?  Like, four of the figure?  No, I get three of one kind and a single of another.  Yeah, that helps me grind them out.

Sunday morning was a visit with Grandma and then grocery shopping on the way home.  There went the morning and early afternoon.  The evening was spent in a mandatory safety class at the gun club.  Then I got to some home and start laundry.

My kitchen is a disaster.  My dining room table is a disaster.  My floors are a disgrace.  There's a layer of dust over everything.

Now my Tuesday nights will be taken up for the next twelve weeks for a league I joined.  Well, they'll be tied up from 7:00 – 8:00pm but that's enough time that I can get maybe one thing done prior to league and one thing after.  So that pretty much takes Tuesday out of the mix.  Wednesday is paint night so I don't get home until after 7:00.  And I'm tired and cranky.

I hate having to divide my time between hobbies and housework when I have so little time to divide.

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Families …

September 7th, 2008 No comments

I'm not sure how many of you know that there's been some changes having to do with Mr. Rastl's grandmother.  She's been in assisted living for a while and since breaking her leg (leg, not hip) she's had private care to help her get around.  The cost combination of assisted living and private care had finally reached the point where it was time to move into the nursing home portion of the facility.

This had been discussed previously.  Six months previously, three months previously.  So it was looming on the horizon.  Mrs. Grand-Rastl (as I'll refer to her now) had been informed of the costs and such by her trust manager on these and other occasions.  But Mrs. Grand-Rastl wanted to stay 'independent' as long as she could.

Now is as long as she could.

This is where things get interesting.  She involved a family friend (known now as IFF – Interfering Family Friend) who does this kind of thing but lives and works in Canada.  Let's just say this person made a few assumptions going into this.  Such as, the trust manager mis-managed the trust fund and that Mrs. Grand-Rastl wasn't aware of what was going on with her money.  Trust me, this was quickly and quite firmly corrected.

IFF contacted everyone almost down to the maintenance people at the facility as well as a number of other people who should not have been involved.  It turned into a Charlie-Foxtrot in no time and in no small order.  Add into the fact that only one of Mrs. Grand-Rastl's children live in the area.  The other two are in far reaches of the country.  And one of them (Aunt Control Freak) got involved with IFF to make this far more distressing than it should have been.

One thing I believe originated with Aunt Control Freak was the idea that all three children needed to be involved with the Power of Attorney (both financial and medical) necessary to move forward.  As the trust manager and those of us here know, that's a big mistake.  Nothing gets done, Mrs. Grand-Rastl suffers, and it just gets ugly from there.

Since there's government and other financial matters now a lawyer is brought into the mix.  She's recommended by the facility and is up on what needs to be done.  Nice lady.  During 'The Meeting' where decisions are going to be made she kicks us all out to talk privately with Mrs. Grand-Rastl about things.  All well and good, Mrs. Grand-Rastl is her client.  We all head out to wait.  On the way back IFF repeats that Mrs. Grand-Rastl wants all three children to have PoA.

Surprise!  The lawyer states that only the child who lives here (Uncle No-Nonsense) is to have PoA.  Nothing about the others – Aunt Control Freak and Aunt Space Cadet aren't mentioned at all.

So, that's one part of the story.  Next up, moving to the nursing home.

Since Mrs. Grand-Rastl was in assisted living she had a one bedroom apartment.  She's moving into a furnished room in the nursing home.  That means all of her furniture needs to go.  The last codicil in her will states who gets what, but that only applies to items in her possession at the time of her demise.  Since she's moving she won't have any of those items in her possession any more.  So now it's all up for grabs.  Kind of.  During a very recent visit to Mrs. Grand-Rastl she said Mr. Rastl and I were just to take it all and do with it what we will.  But we can't since some of the other family members knew what they were supposed to get when the time came.  Complications.

We have to completely rearrange our long holiday camping weekend over Labor Day since the day the apartment needs to be cleared is .. Labor Day.  Mr. Rastl and Uncle No-Nonsense empty the place and bring it all here.  We knew we were getting the living room set and had been working on tentative plans to arrange it in the reading room.  But now we have all the furniture.  Stuffed into the basement.  And pretty much all of it is supposed to go to other people.

Mr. Rastl's sister (Bossy) is supposed to get some things and Aunt Space Cadet some others.  Bossy lives distant as well, of course.  To top it off, when Mr. Rastl's mother passed three years ago Aunt Space Cadet had to clear all of her things out of the basement.  Some of that crap had been there over a decade.  It's all been sitting at Uncle No-Nonsense's place (barn, actually) since then.  And now there's furniture she's supposed to have.

I can't get to half of the basement rec-room due to the pile of furniture.  We can't store this stuff forever, which is what will happen if something isn't done.  Uncle No-Nonsense is supposed to be calling these two people to give them their options:

  1. Come get it
  2. Arrange to have it packed and shipped
  3. Consider it abandoned and Mr. Rastl and I will deal with it

We haven't heard back on what the answers were and I'll be calling Uncle No-Nonsense to find out if he's gotten anything in the way of response.  Mrs. Grand-Rastl has excellent taste so the furniture is all high quality and may possibly be considered valuable.  So we're going to have to get it all appraised once we know what's considered ours.

Note – Aunt Bossy didn't get considered for anything.

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I had to say no

September 7th, 2008 1 comment

I try to be a helpful person.  I have some skills that people want to tap for their own projects.  And within reason I'll gladly assist.

I was asked to take over the website for a convention.  No, not RastlCon.  That's all mine.  A different convention.  The people who originally set it up decided they couldn't make the commitment.  Well and good.

I was asked back in April of this year and e-mails went back and forth so I could get access to the website and download the source files.  And then a silence fell.

Fast forward over four months.  The convention organizer wants to meet to discuss the website.  I state quite firmly that I won't meet with him until I have access to the website and can look it over.  Otherwise any meeting we had would be useless.  He said he would work with the current administrators and get me what I need.

A couple of weeks go by.  No access.  He still wants to meet.  A date is set.

The date is approaching.  No access.

I send out an e-mail with a drop-dead date.  If I don't have the access by then not only won't we be meeting but I not be able to take over the website.  He says he'll get me everything by that date.

Date comes and goes.  He does try to keep me informed on progress.  The current administrators say they need to make me an account so I can do what he needs.  For those in the know, this is bull pucky.  All I need is the hosting site and the account they're using.  The fact that they 'need to make an account' tells me there's something hinky going on and that more headache would ensue.

The day before the meeting I send off the e-mail stating there will be no meeting and I will not be taking over the website.  I didn't get the information I needed and it's been almost five months.

He's disappointed but he says he understands.  I firmly placed all the blame on the people who didn't give him the information but there's more than a bit of blame for him as organizer.  He knew what I needed to do the job.  I stated it in all caps at one point.  He had months to get this transferred.  But he didn't.

Actually it turns out the people in question were at his house playing normal Friday card and board games.  He showed them the e-mail where I simply stated that because I didn't have the information I wasn't taking the site.  His interpretation of their reaction was "She didn't contact us."  The original e-mails prove otherwise.  And the one who was supposed to 'set up the account' was going to do it later that night.

All in all I think I'm well out of it.  I have a feeling the website wasn't going to be the best, most easily maintainable code.  I uninstalled the program they used to make it and so am completely out of the situation.

I really do feel bad for my friend who has no one to manage the convention website at this time.  But I did all I could reasonably do to make it happen.  I've worked too many years in project environments to be tracking down what other people should be doing.  I do my part and if I don't have the information I need I report back to the project manager.  That's what I did.  But I still feel bad.

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CostumeCon 28 (2010) – Salvation?

September 2nd, 2008 No comments

Yay!

My secret network person who is making my wings said that I shouldn't give up hope just yet.  The helmet may not happen but I have a feeling I will get my wings.

I was pondering some of my other ideas and forgot to put one thing into the equation – will it translate on stage?

My concerns over whether parts of the armor should move to cover vulnerable areas probably won't show past the first couple of rows in the audience.  So it can be ditched.

The oddities of aerial combat in armor – since I won't be flying around it won't matter.

This reality check really simplifies the design ideas that I can now flesh out.  I have a few ideas that need sketching and then a hard look at whether or not they'll look right.

Since I don't have the wing back unit yet I can't completely design anything for the body.  Legs and arms are a different story, and I can work on possible ways for the body to look when complete.

When I get around to it I'll post some of the websites that discuss making cosplay* armor.  The process is quite interesting and some of these people are really good.  Not that I recognize any of the source material but the end result can be quite nifty.

* Cosplay.  The wearing of costumes at conventions.  ie – playing in costumes.  I didn't know there was a formal term for it because as long as I've been going to conventions there have been people wandering around in costumes.  I just thought it was a normal thing.  I guess it warrants it's own term.  Go figger.

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