Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In Case You Were Wondering...

Never put an ice cube in a pan with hot oil in it "just to see what happens."

The mess is truly epic.

Water > Earth ... Varnish > Ink

The Odwalla truck fell through the earth today. It was backing up to the loading dock of the building in which I work, and its left rear tire fell through the pavement, revealing an extensive sink hole that goes under the building. Do you know whose office is right next to the loading dock? Yup. Good guess. Depending on the type of repair necessary, I'm guess I may have a move in my future. The current "story" is that there was a water main break, but honestly I think there would be more actual water evident if that was true.

Now, on to painting. Hey, guess what. Ink has no binder in it. I was reminded of this when I tried to use some brush on varnish over a freehand done in ink. I ended up with tinted varnish and no freehand. Anything worth doing once is worth doing twice, I suppose.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dead Trucks and Improptu Haircuts

The truck's dead again. Yeah, it's sooner than I thought it would be too. I was headed home from Angelos' place last night when there was a loud pop and then a scraping noise. I knew immediately what had happened... a tie rod end had broken. The tie rod is what controls the direction of your front tires, so having one broken means that the associated tire is free to go where it pleases instead of obeying the tyranny of the steering mechanism. I had stopped for gas, so I was barely moving when it happened. I had it towed (once again) to Maynard's for repair.... $400 plus tax. Ouch.

I haven't had a haircut in a while. Wait, I guess I should say that I hadn't had a haircut in a while. This morning, as I was getting dressed, Stef beckoned me over to her desk. When I got there, she grabbed the hair on the side of my head and hacked it off with scissors. Then she turned me around and did the other side. I was a little stunned. Spring is here, so I suppose it's time to cut the hair and shave off the beard. Sigh.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dance! Dance, I say!

My girls had a dance recital on Saturday. Technology invites you to see.

Sarah's Hip Hop Recital:

Lily's Ballet Recital:

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Final Eldar Push

This weekend is the final push to get all Eldar done. Honestly, I don't think I'm going to get the Saim-Hann Autrarch done, but I will mail that to him separately.

It's been an awfully long job, and I've gone back and forth spending serious time on it. I'm glad it's finally getting shipped. Actually, the owner may have some more models he needs painted before Games Day, so I likely haven't seen the last of Eldar.

There's a huge Khador job coming down the pipe to paint in a record short amount of time. Angelos and I will be splitting it up to get it done. Expect WIP photos here. Oh, yes. Expect them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

M. Night Whatshisface

Stef and I watched "Lady in the Water" last night.

Wait, let me go back a little. Does anyone remember the teaser trailer for Lady in the Water? The one that doesn't really show much except the main character and some splashing, but ends with the question "How many of you are there?" I found that teaser very evocative, and I was greatly looking forward to this film.

Wait... let me go back a little more. Remember how great "The Sixth Sense" was, and how excited we all were to see the next movie by this mysterious new film maker with the odd name? We got Unbreakable.

Okay, back to the movie in question. After a teaser trailer that made me so eager to see this film, Lady in the Water was just.... awkward. It had way too much exposition, and while it had interesting characters I just don't feel like he did much with them. It would have made a much better novel, where the author has plenty of time to build minor characters until their moment of usefulness. When all you have is ninety minutes in which to work, that building process equates to about 15 seconds of screen time.

I can't say I'm terribly surprised though. M. Night S. has been hit and miss for movies. The Sixth Sense was amazing for pace and revelation. Unbreakable was moody, but seemed more like an undeveloped project than a follow up to such a huge success. Without Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson it would have been ignored. Signs was jumpy and creepy, but way too heavy handed and weakly ended. I don't have a lot of complaints about The Village; I rather enjoyed it, and felt like it lived up to its promise. Lady in the Water has an interesting monster, and I liked the main character Cleveland Heap, but other than that it just more or less failed to make me give a crap one way or the other about what happened. Advice for the millionaire filmmaker: make smaller stories. I can't really get excited about thing that will change the consciousness of all humanity. I want a story where interesting characters experience things and have them resolved in their own context. I'd take small and interesting to epic and vague any time. It shouldn't take an alien invasion to make a disillusioned preacher realize that events in his life have meaning. A girl from another world being pursued by a monster doesn't need to change the course of human history... just make us care about saving her.

Define "Cheap"

EMU has been trying to cut costs. One of the expenses chosen was departmental budgets for little niceties that employees have enjoyed, like coffee or a water cooler. We also used to have a cake once a month to celebrate the employees' birthdays for that month, but no longer. We now contribute $5/month to a coffee fund, and twelve volunteers were forced to bake a cake. Actually, the $5 is far more than we've actually been spending on coffee, so I suppose we'll have a little nest egg built up for when the coffee maker dies. It's one of those three-warmer models that has a direct water feed, and I'd hate to go back to a single pot that you have to pour water in the top of the thing to make coffee.

It's the cake thing that I find puzzling. Not EMU's cessation of providing cake, but my coworkers' lack of willingness to volunteer to bake one. Out of 40 or so employees in our little area, only five signed up for cake baking duty. We even have a departmental cake pan that requires two $1.50 cake mixes, plus frosting. I volunteered for March, and the whole operation took about an hour, from opening boxes to baking to frosting. In an attempt to inspire my coworkers, I wrote SIGN UP FOR APRIL in huge letters made of colored sugar crystals across the cake. No one has yet been inspired to do so.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

He Probably Wasn't That Tall

Second 300 post. Deal with it.

Apparently the Iranians are upset because a movie based on a comic book based loosely on events of 2500 years ago portrays them poorly. Oh, sorry, I forgot to add that the bulk of the movie is actually one character retelling of these events, so add another layer of abstraction and exaggeration. Oh, no. What an insult.

Then again, if the Iranians made a movie wherein a nine foot tall androgynous George Washington attacked the middle east offering pleasures of the fleshly variety to those who would turn on their noble brothers, I think some people here might get a little upset.

I Learned a New Word

Saturday, my friend Mark and I went to see 300. It is based on the Battle of Thermopylae the same way many movies are based on the cover illustration of the novel with which they share a name. It was pure style, bloody and unabashedly direct. It mirrored everything I remember about Frank Miller's comics.

After the movie I decided to read a few things about 300, just to get some viewpoints. One columnist called it "as bloody as Apocalypto and twice as stupid," which made me laugh despite having never seen Apocalypto. The moment of education came when I read this word: warnography. It fits 300 perfectly. 300 relishes in every spear piercing torso, every severed limb, every drop of CG blood floating across the screen in this slow motion death dance with such a carnal sensuality that "explicit" doesn't convey the amplitude. This is the erotica of violence. Still, it was somehow cartoony, especially with the slow motion / real time cuts interspersing the fight scenes. It reminded me of Miller's "Hard Boiled" in that regard, which was so over the top violent that I couldn't always tell if the violence was satiric.

One interesting aspect was the portrayal of Persian King Xerxes. Since King Ahasuerus from the book of Esther is commonly thought to be one and the same as King Xerxes, it certainly shakes up my mental picture of the events in Esther to insert Frank Miller's Xerxes. So where did my vague images of ancient Persia originate? What would the Persian court have really been like then? We have our "biblical times" generic look and feel for an awfully wide range of times and places. I feel a bit inspired to look into things a bit more when I study them.

But not right now. I have painting to do.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ya Buncha Fairies...

Ths weekend the girls and I started painting the same figure, a Fairy Princess by Reaper. Sarah (8) is painting the red one and Lily (5) is painting the purple one.

The first step was a basecoat in multiple, thin layers. This was difficult for them, since they have a hard time understanding anything but one coat coverage. After a couple coats they seemed to get it, although I don't think it looked better enough in their eyes to have bothered. We then tried a highlight layer in a lighter color. In both of their minis you can see the darker/lighter, which I think is pretty cool. I might do one more level of highlights with them, just on the extreme portions. I think we'll do skin after that.

Funny side note. While painting, Sarah became concerned. "Dad, is it okay to say 'breasts' when I talk about painting her?" "Yes, dear, it's fine."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Me != Winner

Okay, the guy I was bidding on here went for $40, a fair bit above what I could afford. Instead I bought a commercial grade fire extinguisher from someone at work for $25. Not quite the same, but a bit more useful in keeping my family safe.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cutest Headbang Ever

Did I mention this one previously? hmmm

Go here:
Watch "Steve Burns and Steven Drozzt: I Hog the Ground"

It's about 34 seconds in.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Irritating Flashback

Ages ago I had an Atari 800XL home computer. Viva la 6502. One of the programs I had played a song called "Passionately" while displaying the lyrics, karaoke style. It was pretty cool at the time, but our coolness threshold with computers was a lot lower then.

Problem: I can't get that song out of my head today. It's even worst because I can half-remember the lyrics. The song is basically about someone who has been abandoned, and is waiting for their lover to phone. Now you are gone, and time just seems to drag on. Without your love, I could not live for too long.

All the while, a set of bars on the screen show the notes being played, including bends and vibrato. You have to admit, you and I fit... Passionately.

Grrr. Not being able to find a real copy of the lyrics keeps this song preserved in half-memory. Number was dialed wrong. For you I still long passionately.

EDIT: Check this out!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Good From Far

I'm trying to get back into the habit of posting WIP shots here. Mark came over tonight, and while he started on Captain Rengrave I painted this fellow. I am really trying for extreme highlights, since this is a gaming piece. I want it to have maximum pop for minimum view time.

I really love Stef's new camera. Best. Snapshots. Ever.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Opposite of Selling

No, I didn't paint this. For the first time ever, I am bidding on a painted mini on eBay. The painter, Shawn R.L., is a CMON regular whose work I have admired for some time, especially in the lighting simulation. Since I have never really seen a really well painted mini in person, I figured I would take a stab at buying this one with the meager funds in my paypal account.

Part of me wants to win. Part of me wants him to get $100 for it. It's a really nice looking mini.

Standing Water

So plans changed a little last night. Instead of finishing the Eldar infantry, I ended up helping my neighbor Don figure out why his basement was flooding. We figured out that it was because of the rain. Couple of geniuses.

It rained a lot here yesterday, and because the ground was still frozen from our cold snap last week the water just piled up on top of the ice. I oversimplified when I said that rain caused the flooding; it was really the 8 inches of standing water against Don's foundation, right where there was a crack. We ended up booking it out to Lowe's before they closed to buy 350 lbs. of sand to build up that low spot and hopefully send the water out in to the yard. It seemed to do the trick. In addition to the crack in the wall, his floor grate appeared to have backed up, which shouldn't really have been related to the rain. In any case, he got the clog out just before I arrived, so sanitizing the floor was the only issue there.

Isn't homeownership a hoot?