Sunday, May 27, 2007

Oooooh, Shiny

If you've been reading this blog lately (for something other than dance recital hairstyles or tortilla chips) you know that I've won >$400 worth of stuff so far as part of the White Dwarf magazine 30th anniversary celebration. Well, yesterday was the big event, in which a gold plated version of the White Dwarf miniature was given away... and I didn't win! Granted, I won at least $80 worth of other stuff, including an Ogre Tyrant and an Orc Warboss on Wyvern, but I didn't win the gold thingy. sigh.

One of the things I won (by spending money and getting a pull from a box of sprues, some of which are unreleased or limited edition) was this super shiny space marine trio. The sprue has been coated the same way that model car bumper sprues are coated, which makes them fairly different than any other marine sprue I've seen. What use are they, you ask? Got me. I'm eBaying them, along with a couple other sprues that Mark and I got yesterday.

While we were there, Mark and I played a (not so) quick 1k game of Warhammer, his new goblins vs. my Skaven. In a surprising 5th turn reversal, Mark panicked the unit containing my general such that they fled right through another of his units, killing all of my unit. It was very well executed, but also a little lucky. The only reason he was able to pull off the charge was because of a fortuitous animosity roll that pushed the charging unit forward into position. I also got a chance to feel everyone else's pain yesterday, as a unit of my Rat Ogres charged some weedy little goblins, then lost combat and ran. The sheer size of the goblin unit was enough to scare my huge Rat Ogres off, something I'm much more accustomed to doing to others with my large Skaven units than having done to me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I started reading Manga (Japanese comics, literally "irresponsible pictures") and watching Anime (Japanese cartoons, the name being taken from the first three syllables of "animation") about twenty years ago. Back then it was definitely a small, subculture group. We watched fifth or sixth generation VHS copies of "Macross: Flashback 2012" at the clubhouse of the apartment complex that one of the members lived in. Good times.

Nowadays the style has become ubiquitous, parodied as much as imitated, but always as a subculture or youth oriented culture, despite the fact that Manga in Japan is targeted at all age groups. (Check out Frederick Shodt's "Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics" for a lot more info.) Well, today the front page of the Fox News web site had a picture that surprised me greatly. I took a screenshot for your benefit. The actual story can be found here.

Way back in the early 90's, Japanese publisher Viz Communications partnered with American publisher Eclipse Comics to publish a few Manga titles. Area 88, Xenon and Mai the Psychic Girl were published biweekly and quite inexpensive. I absolutely loved them. In the end, Viz terminated their relationship with Eclipse to go solo in the American market, proclaiming the coming explosion of anime/manga popularity over here. I don't things have exploded the way Viz wanted them to, but when the Japanese giving out a manga award makes the front page of a major news web site, Manga has officially been absorbed into our culture.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Orc Daddy Birthday

My kids are so cool. Wednesday was my birthday, and they decided to theme the envelopes for the cards they got me as "Orc Daddy Birthday" cards.

Sarah decided to get artistic, then spell out what was going on in case I missed it.

Lily went monochrome, with more lettering.

And Jay's included Orc D's, the girls explained.

My present from the kids and Stef was Guitar Hero 2 for my much neglected Playstation 2, and it is a hoot to play. The girls play it too by laying the guitar on the floor, one taking frets and one taking strumming. I should video it and post. It's quite entertaining.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Unlikey Event

As you may recall from my post last week, the girls and I won an Orcs & Goblins army box at the local games workshop store.

We won another one today, in the same sort of drawing. $430 worth of Warhammer figures in two weeks. It was a little embarrassing. Last week we received a lot of congratulations. This week a few people asked, "Didn't you win last week?" The plan now is to eBay the new box and buy a Tomb Kings army for the girls.

EDIT: eBay link. Since the army box contains a limited edition Orc Shaman, only available through this version of the army box, I'm hoping I can get a pretty good price for it. Wargamers tend to like limited edition figures, especially the ones that aren't available at retail anymore.

EDIT #2: I'm a little slow. I should have just declined the prize and let them give it to someone else. I was a little freaked out by the whole thing and it didn't even occur to me. In fact, I didn't even know that they were awarding another Orcs & Goblins box until they handed it to us. Now I feel really bad. I should have handled this better.

EDIT #3: A kid at the Games Workshop on 5/20 store echoed my own suspicions by telling me that I should not have taken it. One of the workers there immediately chimed in with the fact that this kid himself had won about $100 worth of stuff that day, so complaining seemed a little odd. The second army box, minus the limited edition shaman, have been traded away for a mess of Tomb Kings. The girls were geeked at the idea of having their own skeletal horde.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

In Your Ample Free Time

My dad called a week or so to tell me that one of his favorite movies would be airing that evening. The 1946 movie, "The Best Years of Our Lives" tells of WWII veterans returning home and the way their lives have changed. I've wanted to see it for some time, and since this was a ready opportunity I set our DVR to record it.

The problem is that it's three hours long.

My television watching has been reduced to about two hours of scheduled time each week. Sure I watch more impromptu TV here and there (an episode of Wonder Pets with the kids, an episode of Futurama at 2:00 AM as I'm falling asleep, etc.) but the time I set aside for watching TV is pretty much just "Heroes" and "Lost", and even then we watch them from the DVR, so commercial time is cut out. I don't even really watch movies with Stef anymore, so to schedule a contiguous block of three hours is practically unthinkable nowadays.

I am considering going on a five night work schedule for my painting. Three nights of commission work for non-local people, one night of commission work for local people and one night for my own or eBay intended work. That leaves two nights a week that I could potentially watch a movie or something. I've told the DVR not to delete "The Best Years of Our Lives" and I really want to watch it. I think this five night schedule might be the best way.

The Big Box

Hey, remember the figures I said I was expecting? The ones that include 15 Harlequins? Well I only received 12 Harlequins... along with about 160 other models on foot and 18 vehicles in a huge box. Now this is a commission order.

I played Warmachine with Brian tonight. I got stomped twice in a row in a "mangled metal" scenario (only 'casters and 'jacks.) Whether Brian is just really good or I am just really bad remains to be seen. I fear the latter may be the case.

I've agreed to swap some Night Goblins of mine for an Orc Boar chariot for the girls' army. I just like to say it: "The Girls' Army."

EDIT: I actually did receive all 15 Harlequins, just packaged differently than I had expected. After a couple hours of cataloging last night, I count 25 vehicles/walkers (including 7 single rider jetbikes and 3 two-man jetbikes) and 150 infantry (about 125 of which are Eldar.) The last shipment of Eldar, 5 vehicles and about 65 infantry, took five months to complete.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Redefining "Automatic"

A coworker and I were discussing Internet Explorer 7 and he mentioned that it had been installed as a critical update from Microsoft on his machine, a method he was not entirely fond of. I seldom use IE at work so I decided to check my version to see if I had been updated on the sly. I had version 6. I was immediately curious because I have my computer set to automatically install updates every night. I verified that this setting was still set in control panel, and it was. Hmm. Ok. So I go to to see what updates are available....


Sorry to yell like that. Seventy. Seven Zero. Despite the fact that Windows was set to install them nightly. Many of them were security updates as well. This is the computer security equivalent of walking into a room to find a person sleeping and a TV on, and when you turn off the TV the person says, "Hey! I was watching that." No you weren't. You were asleep. "Yeah, yeah..." Windows answers groggily, rubbing its eyes, "I was updating nightly."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Putting the "Back" in Backlog

I have a lot of work to do again. My own Space Marines and Menites are on the super-fast paint plan (along with prepping a unit of goblin wolf riders for the girls) before the next commission job gets here. I'm awaiting a few Cygnar figures, a bunch of Eldar (including 15 Harlequins!), some Sisters of Battle, some Dark Eldar and some Chaos.

At the same time, my friend and coworker Brian is pretty much divesting himself of all things Games Workshop. He's accumulated 5,000 points of Dark Elves and has offered to let me paint and sell them. That's hundreds more models to eBay if I want to take the time. Yikes.

Yes, folks, the backlog is back.

Monday, May 07, 2007

What's Gonna Work? Teamwork!

Okay, I admit it. My favorite show on TV right now is The Wonder Pets. I watch the adventures of Linny, Tuck and Ming Ming with my kids nearly every day, and I routinely walk around work singing the songs from the show. Yes, my coworkers are about to kill me. (And yes, "This is sewious.")

The show is created using "photo puppetry", sort of a frame by frame Photoshop-style compositing of photographs with some animation and CG effects. The episodes are all very musical, almost operetta in spoken to song ratio, and vary a great deal in musical styles presented. It has the predictable structure that young kids like so much combined with more complex concepts. I was able to explain foreshadowing to my 5-year old using the normal Wonder Pets episode structure.

More later? Maybe. Probably. Man I love that show.

Search Terms

I would like to welcome all viewers who arrive here searching for "Harry and David Multi Grain Tortilla Chips" or "Dance Recital Hairstyles." There are more of you than I would have suspected. I'm afraid you're going to be terribly disappointed.

I'm just some guy who write random stuff, mostly about his kids and his hobby.

The Big Winners!

Saturday was the big day at the local Games Workshop store. The staff at the new store had been handing out tickets for prize drawings since the day they opened, and Sarah, Lily and I had amassed quite a little stack of them. On Saturday at 2:00 PM local employee Marc reached into the box if tickets and pulled out one of ours! We had won an Orcs & Goblins army box! Contents of the box are pictured here (sorry for the small pic.) The people gathered offered much congratulations, and were a very positive bunch. I like that place more every day.

What we won:
  • Orcs and Goblins army book
  • 40 night goblins
  • 20 orc warriors
  • 1 orc boar chariot
  • 10 black orcs
  • 10 goblin wolf riders
  • orc warboss on boar
  • orc standard bearer
  • orc shaman (limited release figure... only available in army box)
  • goblin big boss
Retail price of the box: $215 !

The girls and I had talked it over before going there about both the chances of winning and what we would pick if they gave us the option to choose an army box. We had decided on Tomb Kings if they let us choose, but we are all terribly thrilled with the Orc army. (Plus, I should have remember that the army boxes are a fairly time sensitive things. They are only available for a few months at a time, then the next army's army box is released.) Considering that I already had a few units of goblins from a Battle for Skull Pass box that a coworker and I split, it makes for quite a sizable army.