Archive for March, 2009

A few quick updates

March 29th, 2009 1 comment

I've still been busy finishing up the Razig undead pirates.  Their sergeant is done except for a couple of touchups and the lining.  The monster is more or less started.  I'm not sure if I'll make the self-imposed 'end of the month' deadline but I just might if I get on a painting binge.

I've also been working up my Warlord army list to participate in the tournament at ReaperCon.  I decided on the dwarf faction for a couple of reasons.  The main one is that two very good painters are working on a unit of adepts for me and I really want to field them.  That means making up an army to go around them.  That's fine – dwarf is one of my armies.  But that puts the elf army back some more.  I can live with that.

So I've been spending quite a bit of time prepping dwarf minis so I can get them primed ASAP.  The painting is next on the agenda.  I'll paint as many as I can and then field whatever is left nekkid.  It's tourney legal but I know a painted army fights better.  First up, the bear cavalry because they're so cool.

On a completely unrelated note I'm also getting back into soft crafts.  I'm making some linen handkerchiefs for myself (thank you best friend Karen for the linen scraps) and have picked up my tatting shuttle to make some lace for the edges.  If I'm going to be sobbing for no reason I'm going to do it in very nice linen and lace, thank you very much.  For those who don't understand the 'I'm getting old and cry for no reason' situation, be glad.

Finally I had started writing a rant that examined ingrained cultural beliefs, heritage, religion and civic responsibilities.  It was a pretty complex rant.  I stopped when I realized that even I wasn't interested in the thing.  But I will leave you with an anecdote that happened to me this week.

I was getting my hair cut and my eyebrows back into shapes other than mating catepillers when the stylist asked my nationality. I think it had to do with the amount of hair in my eyebrows.  I answered honestly – "American".  She realized what she asked and that my reaction meant that further discussion on the matter wasn't going to be the normal banter that happens.  I then went on to say my heritage is German, Polish and a little Italian.  I'll leave you that to think about when you're asked where you're from.

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Some undead pirates to start your week

March 23rd, 2009 No comments

I don't have the harpooners or the crewmen lined yet so they're not quite finished.  And of course, I used natural light so the pictures aren't the best.

Here's the zombies, nicely lined.

Crewmen.  I did a green wash over the skeleton parts to give it more of an aged look and to make it stand out from my future Necropolis army.

And the harpooners.  These guys made me say a few bad words since I had to put an extra color into the mix for their shirts.

I think the glowing green eyes really give the right impression, don't you?

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And so, my nefarious plan is discovered. And ended.

March 16th, 2009 3 comments

No, some global force of superheros didn't come and defeat me on the brink of implementing my nefarious plan.  My own consideration did.

Mr. Rastl guessed what I was doing last night anyway.  I wanted it to be a surprise and make him happy.  He was mildly surprised but very happy with what my plan turned out to be.

I was painting the downstairs bathroom that is considered 'his'.  Yes, I know.  Not very nefarious.  But I was planning on surprising him with it when he came home from his trip.

Backstory – the bathroom was wallpapered and a couple of the edges were coming up from the steam.  Nothing too bad but enough that we had it on a 'to do' list for the future.  Well, one of the dogs found an edge and started pulling the paper off the wall.

It was good paper – the vinyl pulled right off and the paper scraped off with just a little water to loosen the glue.  And there the room stayed.

So over the last 3 days I did the following:

  • Scrubbed the paste off the walls
  • Spackled all the little scrapes and dings
  • Primed with the good 'cover everything' primer

Today I pulled out the gallon of paint we bought long ago and started putting up the color.  And I took a good look at the paint job quality.

It wasn't going to be up to Mr. Rastl's standards.

I had to really think about this one.  Should I go forward anyway and not worry about it?  Should I try to do things in a way he might find acceptable?  Or should I leave it for us to do together, to his standards?

This is the bathroom he uses every day.  So I admitted defeat and went with option 3.  I did discuss this with him before wrapping it up but we both agreed that it was best since quality defects that don't really bother me would drive him batty.  And it's easier to deal with things like that while you're doing the job than trying to fix them after.  So, the roller got wrapped in plastic wrap and put in the freezer for when he returns.

At first he thought I was saying the color wasn't right but then he realized I was talking about the 'color coat' and not the color itself.  The color is just fine and exactly what I wanted when I picked it out.  And yes, it will take 2 coats for a good coverage.  I expected that but hoped it wouldn't.

I can still make the curtains and 'frost' the lower window panes so all that's really left is the paint itself and then putting the room back together.  And I honestly expect him to want to touch up the primer coat in places as well, just because he's Mr. Rastl.

I did have a running commentary going for when I was able to post this but now it's not relevant.  If I had completed the plan/project then it might have been fun to read.  Not now.  I might have to post about how well things go with both of us painting in that small room but we'll see if it is worth posting about except a slight "It's done." inclusion.

This leaves me a couple of free days to do things like paint minis and make terrain.  It sounds selfish but it really isn't.  Mr. Rastl said he had hoped that I was taking the time to do things for me (aka – organize the painting/craft room) so I am going to do that.

I'm also going out to my favorite lunch place today.  It was supposed to be a celebration lunch for getting the plan/project completed but I can still celebrate what I've done.  And it's close to where I need to be for my shopping.

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My nefarious plan

March 15th, 2009 No comments

Yes, I have one.  Unfortunately I can't share it just yet because Mr. Rastl reads my blog and he doesn't know what my nefarious plan is.  It's driving him nuts.

I've got an offsite commentary going on the progress of my nefarious plan and I'll post it when I'm able.

So nyah to you, Mr. Rastl.  If you thought you would catch me out here you were wrong.  This was part of my nefarious plan.

Otherwise nothing much.  I've got two of the skellies in the undead pirates almost done.  I did a green wash over them and it may have been a touch too heavy.  They're kind of green like the zombies now.  Oh well.  At least they won't blend into the Necropolis undead army.  I've got two more skellies to paint so I'll see if a thinner wash looks better on them.  And also their seargent even though he doesn't have as much bone showing as the grunts do.

I changed the toner cartridges in my printer and it seemed to fix the issues it was having with color streaks.  I turned off the 'low supplies, stop working' option so these cartridges were way beyond what the printer considers empty.  Oh, and my tri-color inkjet cartridge couldn't be refilled so I need to buy another one.  I'm going refilled on that one and see what happens.  I don't print out many pictures any more since it's so cheap to have them printed like real photos at the grocery store.  And it's not like the inkjet printer is still under warranty or anything.

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I was kinda wrong about that OCD thing

March 11th, 2009 1 comment

First off, it's a good thing for me to have found the missing parts and assorted bits that I had purchased but had set aside.  That being said, I did a bad thing overall.

You see, letting OCD off the leash isn't like turning a dial from 1 to 3.  It's more like one of those huge knife switches you see in the Frankenstein-style labs.  And once you engage that switch, things happen.

I've been playing an online game for a bit.  No, not a MMORPG like World of Warcraft.  It's a little flash-type game on Yahoo.  I've been playing the free trial when I've got some time between stuff.

(You can probably see where this is going.)

I knew that I was having issues with controlling the OCD lately but have been mostly successful in staying on top of it.  I should have known better than to decide 'to use it for good purposes'.

Last night I realized that I had centered on that stupid game.  "I'll stop after I lose one" turned into clicking on the play again option no matter what happened in the previous game.  I played for hours.  Yes, hours.

This morning I was seeing the game while my eyes were closed and I was trying to get out of bed so I could get to work on something like a timely basis.  That was the final straw.

No more.  As of today I'm self-banning myself from the game and from extended internet time at home.  I need to work on balancing parts of my life again before I can trust myself not to fall into the same trap.

The first step in making this work is realizing where the problem is and taking steps to correct it.  That's what I'm doing.  And just knowing that makes me feel much better and in control of things.  Tonight is paint night and then I'm going to either work on some paper terrain or paint up some Hirst Arts stuff that needs to get done.  The computer time will be limited to checking my e-mail a couple of times.  No chat, no games.  Nothing that can suck me in and keep me there for hours.

Maybe I'll actuall get some of these projects done.

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OCD isn’t always a bad thing

March 10th, 2009 No comments

I'm sending some minis off for friends to paint.  It's a nice thing.  They're specially converted minis and I'm looking forward to seeing how they paint them.

There was just one problem.  I couldn't find the arms and shields that went with them.  I found the bodies with no problems.  I had two options – give up and try to get new ones or find those ones that came with the minis.

Guess which one I chose.

I knew I had them at last year's ReaperCon so that meant finding all the various containers with stuff from then.  I finally found a box in the corner that had all the things I wanted plus a whole lotta things I knew I had but didn't have handy.

So I carefully wrapped up each mini with it's associated bits and now have packages ready to go out tomorrow for the guys who are painting my minis.  They're not secret, just special.

The Reaper dwarven shield maidens are really cool, but they're missing something.  Specifically, they're missing beards.  Dwarves have beards.  So in exchange for some Hirst Arts casts the sculptor agreed to put beards on the lovely ladies.  I've had them in the painting queue for quite a while.  So when my buddies asked to paint some minis for me (long story) these are the ones that came to mind.

They're unique, they're fun, and they're mine.

So this evening was spent tweaking the website Mr. Rastl has been making and then trying to find these mini parts.  Now that it's done the rush is gone and I'm heading off to sleep.

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A very busy weekend, take 2.

March 9th, 2009 No comments

Vox ate my post when I was trying to confirm that a picture was actually what I thought it was.  This displeases me.

So you get a summary instead of the longer ramble.  It might actually not have been that bad of a thing.

Mr. Rastl worked hard all weekend to get his club website changed over from the existing static pages to a WordPress site.  We had tested it and got it functioning but once it was live there was lots of work to do to move the existing information over and structure it correctly.  To make it easier on both of us he worked on his computer in the dining room and I worked on making paper terrain at the other end of the table.  That way I was there if he had questions.

He was able to get the site up and working then found a theme he liked better and had me apply that for him.  A few tweaks later and he called it done.  Actually he said "I'm done" but it all works out the same.

I was able to start making some pieces from the World Works Games Gothic Realms set to use with my DungeonBash games.  The game provides tiles but these are just much cooler.  There's some inconsistencies between the tile sizes that came with the game and what comes with Gothic Realms but not enough to matter.  I have to do a couple of bashes to make it work better.  One of them I already did and that's the modification of the small corridor into a dead end.  Here's a couple of pics.

This is a long corridor, a corner and my dead end.  I didn't clip them together for this photo which is why there's some gaps.

Here's a bit of a closeup of the dead end that I made.  It's cooler in person and I hope to get much better pictures.

I also have another corner and a T intersection half completed.  Mostly completed.  Not assembled.

And after all this I was able to finish up painting the zombies.  They're not lined but they have all their paint on them.  Once more I'll say the lighting was less than optimal.

Click on any of the smaller pictures to bring up a larger image.  These are the ones where I painted all the leathers out of humanoid skin tones.  Ick.

Razig Zombies 04Razig Zombies 03Razig Zombies 01

So that's what I've accomplished.

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I got my painting time back. And I used it!

March 6th, 2009 No comments

We're getting back onto our typical schedule, which generally leaves me 2 hours in the evening to do hobby-related stuff.  And just so you don't think I neglect other chores around the house, I do those during my lunch break, after I get home, and on weekends.  Mostly.  A bit of that is prepping things so the robots can clean but I really do need to take a few hours this weekend and do some more cleaning.  Not a problem.

My undead army mooks I started last night are coming along nicely.  I'm kind of making up the color scheme as I go and even though I don't expect to add to this army I'm writing down the colors so I don't have issues later if I change my mind.  As I've been known to do.

The 'glowing green eyes' idea turned into putting a deep red-brown wash around the eyeballs (in the eye sockets), then painting the eyeballs with a dark green and then putting a dot of the obnoxiously bright green on top of that.  Works quite well, I think.  I really do like that obnoxious bright green set.  Too bad they discontinued it.  I understand because it's a rather limited use color but it's so useful at times.

I went with one of my preferred methods of painting the leather that works great but creeps me out.  On the bad guys I've started using the humanoid skin tones for the leathers.  As in, "Tanned Skin" as a leather color.  So these guys not only have that one but the "Humanoid Skin" as well.  The effect is great, the idea of doing it creeps me out.  Essentially I've clothed them in the skins of their enemies.  I know that's not much different from dragon skin armor but still …

I've got the headwrap/hat thing and the sword to finish up.  I used the tanned skin on the hilt and I put the deep red-brown on the hilt basket but I think I'm going to paint over it with the same color as the headwrap/hat.  Otherwise I'm adding another color into the mix.  Yes, I did paint the insides of the mouths with the deep red-brown but that's just a single color.  The hilt basket is going to take shading and highlighting.  So it's going to match the other area that's getting the same treatment.

I'm tempted to try doing a touch of freehand on the hilt basket since it kind of cries out for it but I'm not that good and I wonder if they would waste the better weapons on the mooks.  Oh – I've also decided not to try making the weapons weathered and/or old.  They're going to be nice, servicable weapons.  You've gotta keep the undead busy when they're not in battle.  It's not like they hit the bars on shore leave.

Then I do the lining and call them painted.  Lining finishes a figure.  It consists of painting a darker line where two surfaces meet or where you want to emphasize a change, like between fingers.  Some people line the figure then paint, leaving a slight line between the colors.  I've always painted first and then added the lines.  I guess my method is more 'dangerous' since there's more of a chance of getting liner where you don't want it but it's the way I like to do it.  For these guys I'm doing a mix of brown and green liner.  Typically I would just use brown but there's a lot of green tones in there.  Technically I could toss red into the brown for contrast but I'm not trying to make the lines stand out.  I want them to blend in.

I won't base them until the whole army is done.  I have an idea using sand, driftwood and seaweed.  Very appropriate for undead pirates, I think.

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Yay! I painted!

March 5th, 2009 No comments

Well, at the weekly paint night I did a basic cloak paint job but since the lighting is less than optimal I'm going to have to do all the detail work here at home.  I'm going to try .. plaid.  Wish me luck.

And then after discussing the website changes that will be happening this weekend (far too much discussion for a paint night) I did get some other painting done.

I got the base coat on some of the Razig undead pirate army.  I wanted to start on something easy so I grabbed the 4 sword mooks.  Turns out they're zombies, not skellies.  The bone paints went back in the caddies, the undead flesh came out.  I got all the skin painted up, which is not bad at all.

I'm debating about how to paint the eyes on these guys.  During the brief pause in posting to take the dogs outside I got the idea of grey for that blank stare that zombies do so well.  That sounds like it might work.

On the housework front I did pretty well today.  The kitchen is back in order and I was able to get Scooba running during my lunch break.  So the living room floor is nice and clean.  I'm going to try to get the dining room done tomorrow.  I love coming home to a nice clean floor that I didn't have to scrub myself.  Robot servants!

I got another 3 Hirst Arts casts done today.  One before I left for work, one while I was waiting for lunch to cook, and one poured after paint night and staying in the molds overnight.  I switched out the Gothic Arena for the basic wall builder since I was running very low on basic building bricks.  I can still cast the two little pieces from the arena mold that I always seem to need off the same mix so I'm doing just fine.  If I can get 3 casts done per week night and maybe 5 per day over the weekend then I'll be in very good shape.  I'm going to let them air dry while I work on other projects since that only takes 2 days and I have lots of things I can be doing.  Like redesigning part of my challenge build that needs the bricks I'm casting right now.

I'm hoping to keep posting rather regularly this month.  In the past I've gone days between postings and since there's no limit on how many times you can post I'm going to take advantage of that.  I really don't like posting more than once per day so the end-of-the-day post kind of contains everything that's been in my noggin for the day.  Makes it more of a mash-up sometimes.

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I’m ‘borrowing’ an idea

March 4th, 2009 1 comment

WQRob did a posting in Twitter format and I'm going to see if my day seems more interesting by doing the same.

Woke up on time.  Woke up the second time not so much on time.  Forgot meds but hadn't gotten in the car.  Took Hot Pockets to work for breakfast.

Picked up trouble ticket that came in late yesterday about notifications not being sent.  Part of a conversion project, settings had to be recreated by the users.

Picked up another trouble ticket that came in late yesterday about data not matching a report.  Couldn't find a problem, sent it back.

Finished work on an import package.  Sent out a confirmation request that they wanted the data appended every day since that import file had over 20k records.  Started on the next import package.

Surfed the web.

Went home.  Fed the zoo.  Cleaned the litterboxes.  Put my lunch in the microwave.  Wrote checks to pay some bills.  Ate lunch.  Put cleaning rags in the washer.

Went back to work.  Trouble ticket with nonmatching data came back.  Actually read the problem this time.  Researched.

User contacted me about notifications again.  Researched.  Found they had a trailing semi-colon in the list.  Had them remove, working now.  User error.

Found the problem with the nonmatching data.  Working on a way to purge that set of data so it can be recreated clean.

Talked to the team responsible for dealing with production matters, set up a plan of action on fixing the nonmatching data problem.

Surfed the web.

Came home.  Took the dogs out.  Chatted with Mr. Rastl.  Poured a set of HA molds.  Cleaned the kitchen.  Poured a second set of HA molds.  Put dinner in the microwave.  Put cleaning rags in the dryer.  Worked on a new WordPress site.  Ate dinner.  Chatted with Mr. Rastl.  Poured an third and final set of HA molds.  Worked more on the new WordPress site.

Wrote a blog post.  Went to bed.

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