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T’was the night before my convention and …

November 22nd, 2008 No comments

No, sorry to disappoint but I'm not going to try setting my travails to the poem.  I personally hardly ever like those.

But it is the night before my convention.

As far as I know I have everything in place that I can do.  As of tomorrow morning I put it all in the hands of my staff and just let it ride.  I'll keep an eye on things, of course, but overall it's going to happen as it happens.  That's the trick of running something like this.  There reaches a point where you can't control it.  You just let it happen.

My car is loaded with everything that isn't temperature sensitive.  That means I have very little to put in there tomorrow.  I should have help bringing everything into the hall or it's going to be a few trips for me.  I can use the exercise.

There's always things I wish I could have done better but they're minor in comparison to the convention at large.  As far as I can tell nothing huge is missing (except that I missed putting an event on the grid.  Oh well.) and my checklists are checked off.

My self-assigned job tomorrow is to take lots of pictures.  That lets me roam around without looking like I'm useless or looking for problems.

Mr. Rastl loaned me one of the lanyards he wore on many a concert tour.  It has a lighter attached (it has a rather rude saying on it) and a bottle opener.  Appropriate.  Fire and alcohol always mix well.  I think it will bring me luck.  Only the staff get the 'good' nametag holders.  The attendees get the stickers.  I priced the better ones and well, the stickers won out.  Not just any stickers.  Dollar store stickers.

I'm quite the optimist in that I already put next year's date on the program.  Of course, if this bombs then I'm not committed to anything but I think it will do well enough for a first year convention.  My accountant/registration person did a Google search on the convention name and found a surprising number of hits.  I had to do the same after that.  This is my favorite one because of how they found my event description 'charming'.  I try.

The convention site will have photo galleries after the event and I'll still use it to promote other conventions along with the smaller (and larger) vendors.  I want it to be useful even after the event has passed and it's too early to talk about the next one.

OK.  Time to rest up for the big day!

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Stubborn people

November 17th, 2008 1 comment

I'm not exactly over-endowed with patience.  I've learned it over the years but it isn't something that comes easily.  Well, I tell a lie.  In some circumstances I can be very patient.  In others, not so.  Rather typical of everyone, actually.

But that's not today's posting.

As you can tell from previous blog entries I dabble in terrain as well as miniatures.  One kind of leads to the other.  And no matter what, everything needs to be painted.  Always.  Every single time.

And I try to encourage others who are just starting out in the hobbies or have hit a roadblock in what they're doing.  Others help and encourage me when I'm stuck.  Pay it forward and all that trendy stuff.

But I get frustrated when someone doesn't listen to the advice being given by multiple people.  I'm not going to name names or reveal online identities because I actually like the person in question.  If not this would have been a flame-fest.  But they're enjoying the hobby and trying to do fun things.  So we help if he's having issues.

He's having issues and he asked for help.  Help was given.  By several people.  And all pretty much the same advice – use the correct tool for the job you're trying to do.

Every single time his response has been that he wants to use the tools he's familiar with and not have to learn something new.  Um, it isn't new.  You use the tool the same way.  It's just the correct tool for the job you're trying to do.

People like this annoy me but more because they ask for help then tell you they don't want to follow the advice.  So it isn't 'help me solve this problem' it seems more like 'teach me how to use the wrong tool to do what I want because I'm not open enough to try the tool you're telling me works.'

Now, we're not talking big bucks either.  He could fix his problem in under $5.00 and be set for years.  But I don't see this happening and we're going to continue to have to hear about how things aren't working out to his satisfaction.

I've tried one more time with a personal message, since he's contacted me with questions in the past.  If he's still not going to listen to our advice then I'm going to skip this particular issue and possibly be less helpful in the future because he hasn't shown himself willing to actually accept advice after asking for it.

And that makes me sad.  He'll be unhappy with his results and unhappy people don't post pretty pictures for me to look at and copy ideas for myself.  Selfish but true.

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I’ll share the road with bicycles when …

November 13th, 2008 2 comments

I'll gladly share the road with bicycles when they obey the same damn traffic laws cars do!

In the last two days I've seen the following:

Bicycles on the sidewalk
Going the wrong way down a one way street
Completely blowing off traffic signals

And today's 'perfect storm'.  A teenage girl, riding in the wrong lane of the road, earbuds in, cruising through a four way stop as I was 1/3 of the way through the intersection on a sideswipe course with her.

She never even looked around.

Mind you, I live in a state where there has already been snow falling so it's really near the end of the bicycle season.  I can't believe these were 'last minute, get the most out of doing illegal things' events.  I just happened to be annoyed at one of them and started actually remembering them.

I'm sure there's any number of people who ride bicycles and obey the traffic laws.  They just don't seem to live in my city.

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I want MY federal bailout

November 10th, 2008 3 comments

From an article today I'm seeing that the federal bailout distribution is secret.  Secret as in "We're not going to tell you where the money is going, what we're getting in exchange, what your risk is, etc.".  Also, it isn't just the big one the news was all over.  There's hundreds of millions of dollars being handed out from other 'under the wire' programs.

How do I apply for some of this?  I don't want much – just enough to pay off my house.  Why shouldn't I get some of the money that seems to be shoveled into anyone who knows the right forms to complete?

I'll pay it back in the form of the increased taxes they're going to be slapping on us when the bills come due so it isn't like it really is free money.

So, does anyone have a link to the form I fill out to dip my ladle into this pool of money?

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One last touch on the Crusader mini

November 6th, 2008 1 comment

The metallics were just that little bit flat so I decided to ink them.  I hadn't used inks before (mostly I use washes, which are thinned paints) so I was hesitant.  Some help from the Reaper forum got me moving.

Most but not all of the metallics have been inked.  The large smooth surfaces and the top 'skirt' of chain mail didn't get inked.  The large smooth surfaces had nothing that would be enhanced by ink.  The top skirt I wanted to keep lighter than the leg armor so I just didn't darken it.

Overall I'm pleased with the extra depth this added.

I've started painting the bases as well.  A layer of flock and the some static grass will complete that.  I know you can see the slot where the mini was inserted but that will get covered by the flock so I'm not going to waste time filling it in prior to that.

There's two coats of varnish on these so only one left to go.  My varnish mix is mostly Future floor wax so it can take some serious abuse.  Which is what I expect to happen to these figures since they're meant to be used to demo the game.

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What I’m reading

November 5th, 2008 No comments

I went on a library binge and picked up some books that I had jotted down as wanting to read.  I'll insert my comment here that if you're not using your public library then you're missing out.  Your tax dollars pay for it and this way you can read all kinds of different stuff without having to worry about whether or not you wasted your money.  More on that as I go.

The AMC series "Mad Men" is supposedly based on the book "Something Happened" by Joseph Heller.  He also wrote "Catch 22".  I decided to see what all the fuss was about.  As I started reading it I just didn't get pulled into the story.  I gave it 100 pages to 'catch' me and it didn't.  So it went into the return pile.

There was a news-type story about how there's a prevailing feeling that the first colonization of Mars will be a one-way trip.  I won't go into the specifics as I'm not qualified to do that but one of the comments on the story recommended the book "Red Mars" by Kim Stanley Robinson.  Turns out there's a series – "Red Mars", "Green Mars" and "Blue Mars".  I checked out "Red Mars" and while it got a bit technical it was pretty interesting.  When I returned these books I checked out the rest of the series and started "Green Mars" last night.  Unfortunately it's starting out to be rather repetitive of the first book.  Again, I give it the '100 pages' test and see if I continue.  If not, the rest of the series goes back.

Finally, I've been reading the Kathy Reichs series.  The Fox series "Bones" is based on her characters, if you didn't know who she was.  I've found that the books and the series are so different that I can enjoy each one as a separate entity.  Personally I prefer the books.  I had put her newest book "Devil Bones" on reserve and it happened to be in when I was getting this last set of books.  This one wasn't as interesting to me as it spent more time on what I would call extraneous information than the actual storyline.  Kind of like the later Tom Clancy books.

I wouldn't say these last two batches of books were losses.  I read new things, for the most part I enjoyed reading them, and I didn't waste money buying books I'll never read again.

I just need to find some new authors so I can expand my selections.  I've got four authors that I follow so that means there are times when there are no new books from them so I'm stuck reading things I've read before.

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Demo army first rank painting done

November 4th, 2008 No comments
Warrior 08aWarrior 09aWarrior 10a

Finished up this first rank.  They still need varnish and basing but the painting itself is done.

Tonight I did the black fabric trim, then the leathers, then the sword and hotspots

Here's all the boys together.  The photos are a bit washed out since I overprocessed them in Photoshop.  Looks like my lights just aren't going to do it for me since I can't get the balance between the color and the brightness.

They'll get varnish then I'll set them aside until I know what I'm doing for basing.  Most likely it will be a grass/rock blend since they're the most generic of factions I have.

Next up is a couple of minis for me and then the next ranks.

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One more step in the minis

November 3rd, 2008 No comments

I only got one step done today on finishing up the minis.  I probably could have gotten more done but the long car trip we took in the morning to take the boat up to be stored for the winter didn't agree with me.  I'm feeling better now, thanks for asking.

I'm going with more vivid colors than anticipated when I started painting.  This is Ultramarine blue.  A nice purple-blue that fits in well with the silver and gold.  The trim will be black, as will the emblem you probably can't see on his chest.

Belt and hilt, trim, boots and gloves, sword.  Then I think I can call this rank done.  I have two each of spearmen and archers yet to paint and while they're not all the same pose I can probably paint them all up at once as well.  They'll go a little faster than these since I know the colors I'm using but since I do plan on doing the step-by-step it does take a little longer than if I were doing a straight paint job and posting pictures at the end.  Not that much, since I would tend to stop at these points anyway.  Just some more time in taking the pictures and posting.

I'm on the fence about primer color as well.  I typically use white so I have the flexibility to use any color and it will show up nicely.  But these guys are all dark colors.  So I could use black and save myself a lot of undercoating with brown.  It's something to ponder while I paint that difficult color – black.

As with the other posts, the collection of photos is below.

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Demo army progress

November 2nd, 2008 No comments
Warrior 05a
Warrior 06a

I'm moving on quite nicely.  All the armor bits are done on these fellows, except for the final detailing but that doesn't count because it's done at the end.  Trust me, that makes sense in my world.

We got the light box thing sorted out.  Now I'm just learning the best way to use it.  So these are a little more clear.

Chain mail and all armor pieces are done.  It's a little hard to see but there's a faction symbol on the top of his right shoulder that's also done in the silver so it stands out.

I'm reconsidering my color scheme for the fabric parts now that I'm really seeing how the silver and gold look together.  My original plan may be too wishy-washy to really go with the contrast.  I'm going to ponder this for a few days.  Or until I decide to paint them some more.

There's really not that much left to do.  I say that now.  When I actually paint I'll find all kinds of things yet to be done.  Of course.

The full progress of the paint job is in the collection below.

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Down one robot servant

November 1st, 2008 No comments

Roomba died.  Again.  Same problem – the brushes aren't turning.  However, I have more information this time.

I'm refusing to send it back and demanding both a replacement unit and a warranty extension since I swear that I've never had one work longer than two weeks at a time.  But that's not really the information part.

Turns out this is a very well known problem.  Hair gets into the gear case and gums it all up.  And of course, that's not something you can service and keep your warranty.  So iRobot has you send them back for a replacement unit.  I'm thinking they clean out the gear case and see them as refurbs that will have the exact same problem in the future.

Since this is such a well known problem there's a home-grown fix.  People have discovered that you can install ball bearings on three of the gears and the problem disappears.  It's a bit of a tool-using creature mod as you have to widen some holes in the case and shave down some of the gears to fit the ball bearings.  Luckily one of the more experienced people will do the modification for a small fee.  I'm waiting to see how much that's going to cost.

Then I will have a brand new unit to keep in the box as well as a modified unit that actually works.  Once the warranty runs out I can have the replacement unit modded and have two working units.  I'll have to get a few things to make both of them work (they don't supply a battery or charging station with the replacement units) but that's not a bad investment.

Scooba is still working fine.  As a matter of fact he needs to get some work done today.  Onward!

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