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Archive for February, 2009

OK. Finally, some pictures

February 26th, 2009 No comments

I gave up on trying to get the right light, etc.  Instead I just wanted to get some pictures out there so folks could see how things are progressing.

These are the completed ones.  There's a number with the stonework painted but no decorative painting as well as built pieces that haven't been painted at all.  Those aren't pictured.

I've got half a dozen pieces waiting on decorative painting as well as a half dozen doors to finish up.  I haven't counted the ones that don't have any paint on them yet.  I've been bringing them up from the basement in sets and right now my staging area is filled with pieces waiting on decorative paint.  So that's the next thing – finish those up so I can move them into the completed area and get more pieces ready to finish.

So there.  I have been working.

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Um yeah, pictures

February 25th, 2009 No comments

I guess I better find a way to get some pictures up and soon.  I keep building and painting but I can't prove it to anyone unless there's a picture or seven.  It's one of those 'I want the right light' but I don't want to actually set up my lights kind of thing.  Yes, I'm a slacker that way.

I did finally send off those Darkspawn after having them staring at me from my paint table for a very long time.  Slacker, remember?  I didn't send off any of my own army figs because I don't know what army to send and I felt really bad about how long it took me to send mine back.  The poor, patient recipient has renewed his offer to paint some for me and I think I'll have a look-see and decide what can be sent.  At least I'm not the last one, thank goodness.  I have to poke her with a stick to get this round completed.

I decided that I also needed a basic arena set to go with my decorative arena set.  The good news is that these are pretty simple builds and only use one mold.  The bad news is that I'm out of a lot of the bricks I need now.  So I brought up the casting supplies again.  I was torn between casting the arena mold and casting the basic brick mold.  I still need to build the rest of my decorative arena but I also need to build a piece for a challenge that will use a lot of the basic bricks.  Right now I have the arena mold but I'm not completely certain that's the second mold I'll be casting.

I did get the base coat on more of the finished arena pieces for trade.  Except for some finials I think I have all the pieces built.  There is one large piece that needs to be sent in sections and he's aware of that.  I'll paint it, he'll just have to do the final assembly.  Much easier to ship that way.  And base coating is a nice way to end the evening.

I figured out why it takes me so long to paint these rather basic terrain pieces.  I can't help but paint to the standards of my own personal pieces.  So that means going over them a couple of times and finding all the little spots that didn't get a base coat.  I know I could just hit the glaringly obvious ones but I just can't do it.  So I spend a little more time at the beginning and I'm pleased with the result.  The current pieces are being done in the stone color but none of the accents have been painted.  I'm kind of holding off until I have a few since I'll have the paint out and all.  Exactly the same reason I paint several of the terrain pieces at the same time.  It's more time effective.  Kind of like army painting.

And finally I decided to clean my brushes.  I hadn't done it for a while and I've been using them quite a bit.  So I went through my entire set of main brushes (about 12) and then my terrain brushes (about 10).  This means using the brush cleaner to get out all the dried paint, rinse, then add mastic and shape.  All my main brushes are sitting out and getting some air.  The terrain brushes sit upright in a container so that's not an issue.  I even cleaned all the dried paint off the tools I use to open up clogged dropper bottles.  Those were done by softening the paint with brush cleaner then taking a craft knife and scraping off all the paint.  There was quite a bit but I could tell that just by looking.  It was one of those things I had been putting off.

I know I could get more paint out of some of the terrain brushes but it was getting late and I was getting tired.  So for now, they're better.

And that was my evening, after a very nice dinner with Mr. Rastl and watching a show we had recorded.  Kind of a busy evening.

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Funny cat picture placeholder

February 24th, 2009 No comments

I've been building and painting terrain.  And I promise that some day I'll show you that I really am doing these things.

Until then, enjoy this LOLcat.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

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Back to this ‘stimulus’ thing

February 18th, 2009 1 comment

I actually thought of this yesterday but really, really try to limit my blog postings to once per day.  And I wanted Mr. Rastl's comment to stay at the top for a bit.

Here's today's thought on the stimulus.  Every congressperson who voted for it should forfeit their salary for the next X years.  And also freeze their pension benefits, etc.  Have to pay for their own health care.  If they really do want to show they care about the economic situation then let them put their money where their vote is.

What to do with the money?  Send it back to their home states, no strings attached.

Gee.  What a concept.  A personal liability for voting on a bill that increases our debt.

Anyone care to contact their congresspersons with this suggestion?  Any way to get it out there as a 'grass roots' idea?

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Mr. Rastl would like to retort

February 17th, 2009 No comments

Mr. Rastl occasionally reads my blog.  Which is why I have to be a bit contained in some of what I say.  Yes Mr. Rastl, I edit things because I know you read this!

That being said, Mr. Rastl would like to respond to this blog posting and since Vox does not allow for non-member comments I said I would gladly post his response.  Please note that it has been edited for spelling. grammar and general humor.  But not much.

Greetings blog readers - Mr. Rastl here

I would like to thank Rastl for all of her hard work with the league scoring project as well as smashing all of the how’s and why’s into Mr.Rastl's project and not smashing Mr Rastl's head with a sledge hammer when I asked “what if we” or “How about”. (Editor note – these questions were generally asked when I was hip-deep in the last requested change.)

With all of this being said I would also like it to be pointed out that Mr.Rastl sold traded a very expensive item so that Rastl could get something she really wanted. (Editor note – Mr. Rastl didn't really like the item he sold traded.)

In closing Mr.Rastl may have asked Rastl for a whole lot of help which she freely offered but I did compensate her for what she has done (like I had a choice) so I am not an ogre, just a round, stubborn, vertically-challenged person.

There you go.  Mr. Rastl's side of the story.  Mostly.

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Stimulus? What stimulus?

February 16th, 2009 3 comments

No, not that kind of stimulus.  The one that everyone in the US has been overwhelmed with for the last far too many weeks.

I apologize right now if this turns into a rant.  It has a very good chance of doing so.  You've been warned.

I'm reading a summary of how this stimulus package breaks down and looking at it from a very selfish viewpoint – what are they doing with my money?  Yes, my money.  It's our money.  That never seems to be made clear.  They're giving OUR money to these things.

Now I get to be more detailed.

Taxes:

I have no children so sending a child to college does me no good.  I don't plan on buying a new car until the old one falls apart in my driveway so no help there.  I own my home (and have kept current with the mortgage, thank you very much) so nothing for me in that one.  I'm not planning any 'energy improvements' since my home is already energy efficient.  More on that later.  Per child tax credits?  No children, I lose out again.  Untaxed unemployment benefits?  Thank Spaghetti I don't get to take advantage of that one.  AMT has never been a concern for me.

Tax benefits for me – zip.

Health Insurance:

As with the unemployment benefits, I'm not on COBRA so that is a pass.  Medicade changes?  Nope.  I don't even expect the program to be funded by the time I'm eligible anyway.

Health insurance benefits for me – nada.

Infrastructure:

I don't work for a contracting, construction or any other kind of industry that's going to benefit from new projects.  Yes I use the roads but I already pay an insane amount of taxes to pay for them.  Deal.

Infrastructure benefits for me – nothing that goes into my pocket.

Energy:

My home is already energy efficient so unless something goes kaflooie I'm not going to see a dime of anything from these credits.  "Green energy"?  Do it on your own investment and leave me out of it.  If there was any realistic return from these projects they would be available now.  Keep your ideology out of my pocketbook.

Energy benefits for me – not a bit.

Schools:

Schools are important but my property taxes are already funding those.  "No Child Left Behind" and special education programs are an entirely different rant on my part but if there isn't money for them then maybe, just maybe, they're not a good idea.  Head Start programs?  It's called parenting folks.  More money for colleges?  When did a college education become a right and not something you worked for?

School benefits for me – in my opinion, nothing.

National debt:

Oh yes, this will increase the national debt quite handily.  So my share of that increases.  Luckily I don't have progeny to which I will be passing this down but as a citizen I see this as wasteful and shameful.

National debt – yay!  More national debt!

Environment:

I won't argue that the national park system is important.  Is it more important than things like not printing more money to hand out?  That's up for debate.  The EPA seems to be getting money to fix things that private companies have left behind.  Let's see how I can get away with that kind of thing – walking away from problems and expecting the federal government to clean up after me.  And honestly, are parks all that important when people don't have jobs?  Is a walk along a nature path to a new nature center really going to make them feel better about all that money being spent?  The justification is saying this will create 100k new jobs.  Really?  Permanent, well paid jobs?  Or the transitory construction and seasonal part time worker type jobs?

Environment – nothing of value.

So, looking over this entire stimulus package I see no actual benefit for me.  Ooo – there might be an additional $13 in my paycheck every week.  Oh boy.  Excuse me for a minute while I jump up and down with joy.

Is there somewhere I can opt-out of paying for this thing?  I tried with my elected representatives but I'm not seeing that there was much time for them to actually find out if the people they're supposed to represent wanted this.  The entire thing was secretive, rushed and not well planned in the slightest.

Elections are coming up and I know that this will be on my mind when it comes to who voted for what.  And voting completely along party lines is shameful.  SHAMEFUL!  Both for the elected officials and for the voters.

The worst thing is that this package is more than likely not going to do a darn thing to stop the economic problems. [Deleted rant on Washington DC people here.]  It's like putting up more homeless shelters instead of looking at why there are so many more people who need them.  It's looking at the symptom while ignoring the problem.

Here's a thought.  Stop all foreign aid for a year or two.  Use that money to invest in our country first.  We're not the world's savior and continuing to try to be one while our own country crumbles is just sad.

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~tap tap~ Is this thing still working?

February 11th, 2009 1 comment

Or, more to the point, is Rastl still working?

Sure, I'm going to use that as my excuse for not posting anything.

The Crusader demo army is done.  Fini.  Complete.  All ready to go slaughter something.

The Hirst Arts pieces are coming along nicely.  Of course, I need to cast more bricks to complete the main set much less the cool extra piece.  But that's not such a big deal.  I need more bricks anyway.  And yes, I've slowed down and am making them to a higher standard.  It means that it takes longer (of course) but I'm not nearly as frustrated as when I rush along and find all the problems when I'm painting.  By the way, paint covers a whole lot of issues.  Kind of like ivy.

As you can tell, no pictures.  I just haven't been able to set up anything to get good lighting.  That's what is keeping me from doing this.  And yes, I know all about light boxes and other equipment.  The problem is space here, not equipment.  I'm hoping that if the craft room gets organized and some more shelves put in place I can have a spot to put a light box and use when needed.  Hope, mind you.

The truck is back from the shop and looking sharp.  There's a lingering odor of paint when you get into the cab but overall it's not a bad thing.  I'm hoping that it fades out rather soon tho.  I'm not sure it's good for the ol' brain cells.

Right now I'm working on a few miscellaneous minis to get them to their respective destinations and/or off the unpainted shelf.  That's why I pushed back the next demo army until next month.  I knew I would have more than enough to fill this month without setting myself up for failure by trying to work on that too.

Oh.  I showed restraint.  Yes, honestly.  One of my favorite online gaming stores is having a clearance sale on Mega Minis.  And I so wanted a few things for something that's been in progress for a while.  I even had them in my shopping cart until I really sat back and thought about it.  I ended up removing them.  I did want them and I even had a use for them but it was a single, specific use.  So rather than clutter up the place with more minis that gather dust I gave in to my practical side.  But if anyone is feeling generous – the cows, the pigs and the rabbit swarm.  Really.

And I don't think I mentioned this one yet.  I'm going to be running some games and teaching a terrain painting workshop at Who's Yer Con in March.  So I'm still trying to design the terrain piece that people will be detailing so they have something to take home.  I've had a few ideas but nothing really jumps out.  And no matter what, more casting will be involved.  Of course.

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Busy, busy, busy

February 4th, 2009 1 comment

Setting goals really makes things annoying.  Once those goals get written down somewhere then there's some pressure to actually get things done.  And when you write them on a public forum (err, or blog) then there's even more pressure.  But then again, I am getting things done.  So maybe it's not all bad?

My Crusader army is two steps closer to being complete.  The bases have their rubble painted up and the bases are sealed.  Last two steps – adding the snow and then the final coat of varnish to keep everything in place.  I didn't make my January goal of getting them completed but they were painted by the end of the month.  That's something, right?

I've been working diligently on my long overdue trade pieces.  Those are the Hirst Arts arena terrain pieces I've mentioned a couple of times and shown in very bad pictures.  I've got a lot more of them painted and a goodly number waiting for paint.  And then there's the ones in various states of construction.

I'm going to digress onto construction here for a moment.  Most of these pieces were made prior to my decision to slow the heck down and not try to make things as fast as possible.  So they're not quite as neatly constructed as I would have liked.  A pillar set was so misaligned that I just put it aside and started assembling a new one.  I can use the old one myself but not as a piece for someone else.  Luckily the rest of the current pieces don't have those kind of glaring errors.  The new ones are being built with much more care and attention to detail.  It takes longer, especially since my dedicated building area isn't available right now, but I think I'll be much happier with the results.

I'm hoping, really hoping, to get some pictures posted up this week.  There's enough arena pieces to make things interesting and even without the snow the Crusaders will work well as models to show scale as well as help the composition be more dynamic.  The only problem is that I don't have floors made up so the pictures won't be as inclusive as I would like.  But those will be better than no pictures, I'm guessing.

Side note.  I'm rather trapped at home since we're down to one vehicle again.  Mr. Rastl was involved in what turned out to be a minor accident due to his excellent defensive driving skills.  Had he been less skilled, the accident would probably have been very, very bad.  So the truck is in the body shop having the entire passenger side fixed up, leaving me home while he takes the car.  I can work from home so that's not really an issue and since he tends to get home later I have even more time to work on this stuff.

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And this is why I decided on a blog

February 1st, 2009 No comments

For a while I had my own website.  It wasn't my own domain, it was the space my ISP gave out for free.

Well, as I kept adding pictures I was nearing the limit of the free space and so I went with an inexpensive picture host.

Updating the website to add new content took a lot of effort so I didn't do it as often as I could.  I didn't have any nifty content management stuff.

Eventually I got smart and took the whole thing down.  It was woefully out of date and my interests had shifted anyway.

I had been posting on several different forums since I have several different interests.  Then I got guilted into starting here and found that I really do like the ability to quickly and easily add content as things get done.  Or not.

Unless it's something cool I really, really try not to post more than once per day.  Multiple postings per day starts getting into Twitter territory and then there's nothing for it but the flamethrower.

Why did I get onto this ramble?  I was looking at a friend's personal site and the news hasn't been updated since 11/16/08.  I know he's been doing things since he's posting on one of the forums.  My guess is that he hasn't had the time to update his site.

Which brings us back to the beginning and why I decided to keep going with the blog and not move to my own website again.

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