Thursday, November 30, 2006

Indirect Feedback

You may recall (from ages gone by) the Circle Orboros warpack (ebay 330047778529) that I painted as my first work for Aether Drip studio. I looked back in Angelos' eBay feedback last night and was pleased to see that the buyer left the following feedback:

"Excellent miniatures; great paintjob; very well packed; prompt delivery. Great!"

Another happy customer!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gravity, for the win (part 2)

Brian and I played a 750 pt Warmachine game tonight, the largest we have played yet. I stuck my neck out a little and got my warcaster assassinated as a result, so the game didn't go terribly long. On the way home, the real carnage occurred.

I was on the phone with Angelos, not really paying attention to the cookie sheet on which I keep my magnetized minis. As I turned right, the cookie sheet slid off my tackle box and landed about halfway between the front seats. What didn't break, bent. What was painted is now scratched. I am very discouraged. I suppose if I put a great deal of time in painting my own army beautifully I would be utterly heartbroken.

It's the Most Wonderful Time

Here in the Detroit area, a popular easy listening station plays 100% Christmas / holiday music from about 11/1 until New Year's Day. Yes, that is the recipe for insanity. I suppose people must listen to it, or WNIC (commonly heard in dentist office waiting rooms the other ten months of the year) wouldn't do it. I know we have it on a fair bit during this time, and we never listen to WNIC any other time.

After listening for a solid month, I find myself analyzing the songs.
  • Apparently there is a kind of tree that one would categorize as "the sturdy kind that doesn't mind the snow." Does that imply that there are others around that do, in fact, mind the snow? Maybe the song was written for people in the tropics.
  • Even today, pumpkin pie is the primary motivator to travel the Tennessee / Pennsylvania route.
  • I am convinced that in "Merry Christmas, Darling" Karen Carpenter is singing to a dead person.
  • I am irritated by pseudo-religious Christmas music like "Do You Hear What I Hear?" Totally secular doesn't bother me. Accurate religious is ever better. Oblique references are no longer allowed.
  • If your Christmas song is more than 2% spoken word then it's not a song. Go bore the people at the poetry jam.
  • Sappy is one thing. I can enjoy sappy. "White Christmas" is sappy. If your song includes blatant attempts at tear-jerking then hit the road, Droopy.
  • Of them all, this season is so happy that it is hap-happy. Make a note of it.
  • "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" is great.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Resentfully Entertained

Did I mention that I had pretty much stopped watching TV? I still watched "Lost" with Stef, but with the frequency of new episodes I knew it wouldn't be a big time suck. Other than that, TV was pretty much just Futurama after going to bed.... well, the first half of Futurama anyway.

Now, thanks in part to both my lovely wife and the ability to watch on demand, I am watching no fewer than three TV shows. The aforementioned "Lost" is still there, albeit infrequently. "Heroes" is one I am actually watching and enjoying, and "House M.D." is one that I have been enjoying, although I can't really say why.

And now, some dubiously clever observations about each.

Lost: As was put so eloquently at, the story arc doesn't feel crafted so much as contrived now. I felt like I was experiencing something mysterious and epic before, but I think we are one season away from headhunters and radios made from coconuts. I'll keep watching for now, but Lost is on double secret probation (just between you and me.)

Heroes: Again, another example of the story arc formula. Despite my general boredom of superhuman powers, this show has kept my attention by actually having some future event that the characters are building toward. The pacing feels like some of the better (read: not superhero) comics that I have read. This one better tell me a story and then end or else. I will not be happy if it goes all Lost on me.

House M.D.: While the snappy sarcasm of the show attracted me at first, it's feeling terribly formulaic now. They've started adding some multi-episode story arcs in season 3, which has helped a little, but my interest will soon be eclipsed by my exasperation unless something changes.

I'm sure part of the irritation is that sheer volume of TV that I've digested recently, what with being sick and all. Stef and I have managed to go from zero to current on "House" in just a couple weeks. "Heroes" was a couple marathon sessions too (all after the kids go to bed.) Maybe I'm just burned out on TV for now... although I hear Battlestar is really good....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Another Army in a Month

I have signed on to paint an entire Eldar army in a month. After the Tau army, I have a better idea of my work potential.

Tonight however I feel like crud, seriously in the "I'm going to call in tomorrow" range, so I got zero assembling/painting done tonight. I can't have many nights like this if I'm going to get this done on time.


Alright, one time is strange. Two times is disconcerting.

A few weeks ago I was hanging out at the loading dock with Josh while he had a smoke. A fellow I know walks up and joins the conversation, and I introduce him to Josh. They both stare at me oddly for a moment, and then Josh casually explains to me that not only does he already know the person, but that he isn't who I am introducing him as. It was a complete case of mistaken identity on my part. The sad part is that I remembered later that this guy has walked up and talked to us often at the loading dock.

Last night Brian and I drove to Saline for game night. About halfway through the gaming, a fellow arrives and joins the group. He is given a friendly greeting, so I assume the group knows him. I, on the other hand, do not recognize him and introduce myself.

Confused stare.
"Uh, Mike? It's me... Kyle."

It was Kyle.

Kyle, with whom I have gamed for months.

What is going on here?!?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Have Fun in Jail!

Back in college, when Stef and I were living in the same dormitory, a fellow used to come around named Alan. Alan was a tenacious visitor, insomuch as he never left once he got into the room. Add to the fact that he smelled bad and you can see why protracted visits were unwelcome. To give you an idea of the smell, one day he came over and sat in a chair that Stef had thrown her coat over. Alan sitting on the collar of her jacket for a half hour made the jacket unwearable, and it had to be dry cleaned to remove the smell. The group of us that hung out together created a secret knock as a way to not let Alan in.

Later, when Stef was manager of the movie theater, Alan took a job there. Having dropped out of college and now living in his car did not help the odor situation much. His poor coworkers were forced to work shifts with him confined to a small box office at times. A few years after we left the theater we ran into Alan again, this time as a salesman at Sears. He was very proud of the fact that he had been in New York city at the time of 9/11, but on further questioning he admitted that he had been in the city about two weeks prior to 9/11.

Well, last night we had another Alan sighting. I was cleaning up my paints when Stef called me from the bedroom, "Oh my Gosh, Mike! Come here and see this!" A come here and see this isn't always of earth shattering importance, but the added oh my gosh added some urgency. I rushed in, not sure what to expect. Stef looked up at the TV and pressed 'play' on the DVR (side note: I love modern DVR functionality), where she had paused the local news. There on the screen was Alan, now 34 years old, who had been arrested for soliciting a 14 year old on the internet. The news report mentioned that similarly condemning material had been found on his computer. Let me take this opportunity to wish Alan a fun time in prison. My advice to him is to use the opportunity to shower regularly.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Apparently 12 Years is PB&J

Yesterday was our 12th wedding anniversary. Stef and I are both suffering colds, she at the end of one and I at the beginning, so we're both feeling a bit listless. We went to church in the morning, dropped the girls off with my mom a couple hours later (to spend two nights) and then searched fruitlessly for a place to get Jay a haircut. We gave up after two or three closed places and went home. I did some laundry in preparation for my 8:00 PM departure for Grand Rapids and played with Jay a little (dinosaurs and race cars, in combinations of one, the other, or both.) At about 6:30 PM I figured Jay would be hungry so I made him and me a PB&J. We had leftover Chinese, but I figured that Stef could use it for lunch/dinner tomorrow. After making a sandwich for Jay, Stef realized that she was hungry (after having passed the first time around for one) so all three of us sat around eating PB&J.

I didn't expect to be quite so penniless at this point in my marriage. I expected to be going to nice restaraunts or weekend getaways by this point. We really couldn't afford to do anything special because I had to pay for my own meals on this week's trip (before per diem payment when I get back.) Despite my shattered expectations of being able to take my wife on romantic shindigs, I can't say I'm disappointed. I feel unabashedly thankful for Stef putting up with me for these years. She makes my life better, and I look forward to many more years of trying to do the same for her. Prime rib or PB&J, as long as it's with her.

She'll Have to Wait

Ashlynn is sitting on the shelf at home for the next four days while I'm off at training. I didn't want to bring her along and risk damaging her, since she's heading for eBay. Granted, I did actually bring paints and minis along, and plan to spend the next three nights painting something (although I am undecided as to what yet.)