Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Childhood Tunes

When I was a youngster I used to listen to music by means of plastic disks with little bumps that encoded the music in analog. We called them records because sounds had been recorded on them. One of these records contained a series of American folk songs, and I committed many of them to memory over time. The result of one such memorization is that I was trotted up in front of the Miller elementary school play finale to sing the verse to Irving Berlin's "Grand Old Flag" since I was the only person in that school to apparently know it. (In the parlance of songs of that era, the "verse" is a unique portion at the beginning of the song, treated more as an optional introduction nowadays.) I remember my teacher being a bit puzzled when I asked her, "Why aren't we singing the whole song?" She asserted that we were singing the whole song. I remember her astonishment when I proceeded to recite the verse for her. She immediately dragged me in to do it for the music teacher, and next thing I know I am leading the finale at the ripe old age of 7.

Anyway, I digress...

One of the songs I have had bouncing through my head for the past, oh, 30+ years or so was a story about a man walking past a dilapidated cabin wherein an old man was playing a fiddle. When the traveler advised the old man to fix the roof the old man replies, "I couldn't fix it now, on a rainy day." Maybe you already know this song. I didn't know the name until this weekend when I heard someone playing it on "Prairie Home Companion" and the song was referred to by name. It's called "The Arkansas Traveler." I've heard the tune so many times over the years, but never the name. This weekend I actually sought the lyrics and found them.

Oh once upon a time in Arkansas
An old man sat in his little cabin door,
And fiddled at a tune that he liked to hear,
A jolly old tune that he played by ear.

It was raining hard but the fiddler didn't care
He sawed away at the popular air,
Though his roof tree leaked like a water fall
That didn't seem to bother that man at all

A traveler was riding by that day,
And stopped to hear him a-practicing away
The cabin was afloat and his feet were wet,
But still the old man didn't seem to fret.

So the stranger said: "Now the way it seems to me,
You'd better mend your roof," said he.
But the old man said, as he played away:
"I couldn't mend it now, it's a rainy day."

The traveler replied: "That's all quite true,
But this, I think, is the thing for you to do;
Get busy on a day that is fair and bright,
Then pitch the old roof till it's good and tight."

But the old man kept on a-playing at his reel,
And tapped the ground with his leathery heel:
"Get along," said he, "for you give me a pain;
My cabin never leaks when it doesn't rain."

(Copied from here.) I have yet to find a vocal version with these lyrics in my intertube searchings. I'm a little shocked that the song is pretty much as I remember it. Granted, I couldn't recite all the lyrics, but I remembered the concepts and some snippets.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Teeny Little Rat

I took a little break from Rectificators late this evening to paint my first Warmaster model. Of course it's a Skaven.

Wow. Just.... wow. So much fun. I absolutely love this scale.

The fact that nobody actually plays Warmaster in my immediate area (or potentially anywhere) leaves me free to paint for fun rather than feel pressured to build an army.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Some Chicago Decisions

Okay, I've been mulling it over and I have some decisions for my Golden Demon entries:

Warhammer single figure: Skaven Lustrian Warlord
Warhammer 40k single figure: Imperial Commissar
Lord of the Rings single figure: Moria Goblin Shaman
Open Category: Warmaster Skaven characters

and if I have time....

Warhammer 40k unit: Deathguard Plague Marines
Warhammer large model: Dwarf Gyrocopter

I have some Eldar that are still catching my eye and begging to be painted for competition, so maybe things will change later.... who knows?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Heading Back to the Temperate Zone

Kevin and I are sitting in the airport waiting for our 12:30 flight from LAX to DTW. Unfortunately it's only 10:00 AM local time, and we've been here since 9:00. The laptop only has another half hour or so of power, so after that I'm reduced to reading books. Like a savage.

Speaking of Luddite pursuits, I have a big nerd confession to make. Ready? Here goes.

I'm reading an "in universe" novel series based on a game.

Shocked? Yeah, me too. I swore I would never spelunk this dark cavern. It can only lead to reading Star Wars novels, writing ST:TOS fan fiction and eventually going to cons dressed at Drizzt. I swore I'd never do it, and yet here I am. How did it happen? Angelos thrust a book into my hands and said, "Read this until about page 50, or whenever they get to all the shacks." I did. I was compelled. I read on. I'm on the second "omnibus" now, each of which collects three or four novels in one volume, so I'm officially on book five of the "Gaunt's Ghosts" saga. Nerdy? Oh, yes. It takes place in the Warhammer 40k universe. Juvenile? A little.... it has some smack of adolescent war fantasy to it. Fun? Embarrassingly so. The sad part is that I am considering reading some of the other "in universe" fiction that Games Workshop has licensed now. Yeah, the cavern is deep, but I'll only go in a little ways and I've got this canary. It's a female canary, so it should die of disgust if things get too nerdy. Unless it's into cosplay or something. I guess I never found out if the canary likes anime. Hmm.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

8000 Educators Drink a Lot of Starbucks

Greetings from Anaheim, CA! I'm here for Sungard Higher Education's "Summit" conference, basically a gathering of their clients to talk about the gigantic enterprise software we are all using. There are 7500 clients and 500 Sungard employees here, and about 12 of us came from EMU. It's..... loud. There was an outing to Knott's Berry Farm amusement park last night, and I rode a few rides. I neglected riding Ghostrider, the granddaddy of wooden coasters, and I regret it now. Oh, well. You hear that Scott Short?! I was at the queue entrance to Ghostrider and I didn't ride. Ha ha!

So far I have made quite a few peer contacts, but it's hard to know who will be helpful and who will be in need of help. I'm hoping for that magical 50% mark, but who knows?

Okay, see you all on Friday.

Friday, April 11, 2008

People To Avoid Having Conversations With

Gee, I can't wait until I'm old enough to feel ways about things.

Spend Hundreds, Save $1 !!! (RETRACTED!)

So GW is having this 25th Anniversary of Warhammer army "deal." I say "deal" because it doesn't seem like much of a deal. Let's take my beloved Skaven, for example:

25th Anniversary Skaven Army Deal $260
Grey Seer
40 Clan Rats
1 Ratling Gun
40 Plague Monks
10 Plague Censer Bearers
10 Poison Wind Globadiers
2 Rat Ogres
6 Giant Rats
3 Packmasters

Now let's compare that to walking into the GW store and buying all those models right off the shelf at full retail price:

Skaven Battalion $90 (includes 40 clanrats, 20 plague monks, 2 rat orgres, 6 giant rats and 3 packmasters)
Grey Seer $12
Ratling gun $12
20 Plague Monks $35
10 Poison Wind Globadiers $60
10 Plague Censer Bearers $50
Total: $259

Wow, guys. Thanks for the dollar. On top of that, the army isn't legal! You can't field a Grey Seer in fewer than 2000 points. If you add every single option to increase the points of what comes in the box, it comes out to 1480 points maximum even including 100 points of magic items for the Grey Seer.

Also for discussion: Why would they eliminate 40k Megaforces? No, seriously. I want to know. If Sam Walton's idea had been to sell smaller quantities of items for more money, do you think he would have been successful?

RETRACTION: Captain Math here, letting all you boys and girls know that $259 is less than $260. When I posted that you save $1 on the big new box I was wrong. You spend $1 more. Now that's economics.

EDIT: Apparently I was a little slow on the draw on this one. My favoritest Skaven site had noticed more than a month earlier. ...link link...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I <3 Google Docs

No, seriously. I really do.

I keep copies of many of my important documents there. I am working on a slideshow for my upcoming painting seminar there. I'm tracking things I sell there.

I'm still not quite ready to store, oh, password or pins there. I'm not really sure how secure it all is, but anything that I wouldn't mind exposed to the public at some point is going straight to google docs.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Countdown to July 26 Games Day

I'm getting a little excited about entering Golden Demon again this year. I plan on entering at least three categories, but I still need to decide which three. Here are the models I am either actively painting or considering:
  1. Warhammer Single Model: Skaven warlord (in progress)
  2. Warhammer 40k Single Model: Commissar (purchased)
  3. Lord of the Rings Single Model: Moria Goblin Shaman
  4. Warhammer 40k Unit: Eldar Swooping Hawks
  5. Warhammer 40k Unit: Deathguard Plague Marines
  6. Warhammer 40k Unit: something Orks....
  7. Warhammer Unit: Skaven Night Runners
  8. Warhammer Unit: Snotling Swarm
  9. Warhammer Large Model: Dwarf Gyrocopter
  10. Open: Warmaster Skaven Heroes
So many choices.... and rapidly closing time.

A Guilty Verdict

Yesterday Orange Taylor III was found guilty of the murder of Laura Dickinson. It's been an ongoing saga here at EMU, and I now find myself sympathizing with Tina and Orange Taylor II, the parents of the convicted man. Their lives are as transformed as the Dickinsons' must be. Their son is going to spend life in prison. One can argue that at least their son is alive, but I'm not sure that's going to be much of a consolation to them. As far as I know they didn't do anything wrong, but they will pay for his actions for the rest of their lives. Every Christmas. Every birthday. Every wedding. Every time someone talks about grandchildren. I don't remember where I heard this, but I'm pretty sure they have practically bankrupted themselves defending their son in this trial. Regardless of whether they say they believe he is innocent or not, there has to be the nagging doubt. The evidence was just too strong. In their hearts, they have to have imagined their son killing her. I can't imagine what that is like.

Monday, April 07, 2008

One of Those Days

I couldn't find my prescription drugs this morning, so I'm wheezing right now.
I couldn't find my tennis shoes this morning so I'm wearing dress-casual shoes, which are not so comfy.
I couldn't seem to get an hour to myself to work this weekend, so the Rectificators suffered.
The radio station reported the wrong date for the charity poker tournament, so only 30 people showed up to compete.
I didn't know Seth didn't have school this week, so I had to drive him back home after trying to drop him off, and was consequently quite late for work.
I didn't realize that I had listed something on eBay at a loss, and I've already sold one and have another potential customer a little peeved at me.

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Habakkuk 3:17-18

Ah. Perspective.