Monday, September 12, 2016

Figure Painting Total - August 2016

I’ve been keeping an eye on some 1/35 scale Mexican Bandits to use with the Rules With No Name for a few years now. I finally ordered them and they came in August. There are 2 each of 8 different sculpts. I have plans to make a Mariachi band team (like El Mariachi, Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico), as well as having a larger group of regular ones in white. So far another low purchasing year giving a solid chance to get some painting done. But the newer Games Workshop board games are calling to me. I'll probably pick some up and they will bump up my buying totals. Aug figures bought - 16 figures painted – 0 Running total 2016 – figures bought 19, figures painted 0

Friday, September 9, 2016

Disney holiday 2016 - overview

We went to Disney. We’ve never been, but we grew up watching it on TV and seeing the rides and attractions in books and movies. We’ve always been big Disney fans. We decorate our house with Nightmare Before Christmas decorations for Halloween, we have a lot of the movies, and I even gave my wife the Disneyland viewmaster reels for her last birthday.

We weren’t sure if we should even go, with the exchange on the dollar being what it was back in February when we had to plan it, but we decided it would be our best chance. I was able to get two weeks at the end of August as holidays so we booked it. Disney World was a go!

The kids are a good ages to go; Gee is 14 and Dee is 17. They should be old enough to have good memories of the trip, and yet not too old that it isn’t still fun. Even though he is older, it was the first time flying for my son so he was a bit nervous about it.

We got some of the park travel books to make lists of rides and attractions and told the kids to go through them to list any of them they might be interested in as well but neither of them did. Gee and I are much more into the rides and Shan and Dee are not. She said that she would still ride some of the classic rides – like Space Mountain, but Dee said that he did not want to ride any roller coasters.

We booked ten days – six days at Disney, two days at Universal, and two travel days. We flew down on August 21 and flew back on August 30. We ended up adding the Sunday as an extra day at Disney for an extra $85 for the four of us – in order to get to see the It’s a Small World ride, as it was being closed down for repairs on the next day.

We’re back. We had a great time. I’ll break it down in later posts, but I wanted to mention it as the trip will have long-reaching effects on what I’m doing for quite some time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Books read - May to August 2016

Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur
Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel by Mike Chinn
The Art School: An Introduction to Oil Painting by Ray Smith

Game Art by Matt Sainsbury
Realms – The Roleplaying game art of Tony DiTerlizzi by Tony DiTerlizzi
The World of Model Trains by Patrick Whitehouse & Allen Levy
Codex Angels of Death (2nd edition) by Rick Priestley & Jervis Johnson
A World of Pizza by Betshy Paola Sanchez

How Architecture Works – A Humanist’s Toolkit by Witold Rybczynski
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Mysteries of the Mall and other Essays by Witold Rybczynski
Cartoon Capers: the history of Canadian Animators by Karen Maurkewich
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

On the Seven Seas – Wargaming Rules for the Age of Piracy and Adventure c1500 – 1730 by Chris Peers
Back to the Future – The Ultimate Visual History by Michael Klastorin with Randal Atamaniuk
Why We Suck by Dr Denis Leary
Heart of Gold: 30 years of Canadian Pop Music by Martin Melhuish
Black Ops – Tactical Espionage Wargaming by Guy Bowers
Lion Rampant – Medieval Wargaming Rules by Daniel Mersey
Dragon Rampant – Fantasy Wargaming Rules by Daniel Mersey
Lythande by Marion Zimmer Bradley
As You Wish: Inconceivable tales from the making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Video Buddy

Being born in the late 60s, we were teens in the 80s. Like most kids of this era, we grew up with video games. When we had kids, we were not adverse to exposing them to games as well.

A good bridge at the time was the Video Buddy system. Using a similar technology as the light guns, it had a console with colored buttons and a sensor that connected to the TV with a suction cup. It had a series of videos on VHS tapes. They would stop the show occasionally and ask a question and you would use the console to answer. The sensor would get the information from the sensor and would tell you if your answer was correct.

It was interesting enough but our kids weren’t super into it. We still have a bunch of the videos that haven’t even been watched. I checked with them to see how attached to it they were. My daughter wants to give them another try before we give them away.

In trying to streamline, my niece said that she would be glad to try them with her young child. I had to check with her to ensure that she had the requirements – a VCR and an old TV.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Intellivision Flashback

As a child in the eighties, I had arguably the best video game system available – the Intellivision. Arguably is the key word here. A lot of people said that the Atari 2600 was better – but they are wrong.

The graphics on the Intellivision were miles ahead of the even-more-blocky Atari ones. The Atari did have more ‘arcade’ games – but the versions available at home were nothing like the arcade ones. Most of the best Atari games were watered down ports of the Intellivision games. The complaints about the difference in controllers really falls down to a matter of preference. The Atari had an 8 position joystick and a single button while the Intellivision had 2 pairs of buttons, a 12 digit keypad, and a 16 position disc.

While most of the x-box or PS kids today would probably have no problems with the extra buttons, to a group that hadn’t played anything before the Intellivision controller must have been overwhelming. I had no problems with it.

A later addition to the console wars was the Colecovision. While it had arcade-level graphics, and actual arcade games, it’s base controller was a bit more awkward then the Intellivision one. It did have a stubby joystick knob instead of the disc, but placed it at the top of the controller rather than under the keypad. It also had a super complex controller for the time – the Super Action Controller – with 4 trigger buttons, a 12 digit keypad, a standard ball joystick, and even a speed roller.

When nostalgia calls, it is awkward to hook up the old Intellivision system through an RF switch to be able to play. The Intellivision Lives game (70 games) for the Nintendo Game Cube and the Intellivison Play emulator (25 games) were both disappointing as they both required modifications to the games to use on the modern Game Cube style controllers. I know as I had picked up both of them hoping for that old Plimpton experience but did not get it from either.

Intellivision Lives! currently has listed an Intellivision Flashback – with a mini deck similar to the old woodgrain unit and two classic controllers. It’s loaded with 60 games but is missing a few of the licensed ones. They even have a Coleco Flashback unit as well. I know that they are both going on my list.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dune on the horizon?

The Dune board game remains one of my grail games. I have recently watched a few videos on the game and rules – drive run thru review, harsh rules, etc. It does seem like a game that I will like. The potential length may be a bit much for my gaming group though. With the Dune license tied up, Fantasy Flight released the basic rules as Rex – Final Days of an Empire by retheming it to their Twilight Imperium universe. I’ve never played Twilight Imperium and have no ties to that mythos, so I’ve no interest in getting that verson.

I printed out the rules and read through them. It doesn't seem much more complex than Diplomacy. Now I just have to find a group to try it.

While there are a few files on BoardGameGeek for printing your own version, I decided to use the one ‘Dirt Cheep Dune’ with simple graphics and low print requirements. With this, we can play a game or two and, if it plays as well as it seems, then I should be able justify picking up a game online or spending the time and effort to make a really nice print-and-play version of one.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Step down

There’s a meme that says “If a man says that he will do something, he will. There’s no need to keep reminding him every 6 months.”

Looking back, it was back in July of 2014 when we first rented a jackhammer to break up the concrete step in the backyard. Two years later, we rented a smaller jackhammer as well as an eight pound sledge hammer to finally finish the task.

My son was very helpful with the sledge. We broke up the rest of the step parts, and broke up the landing part enough to move it to the side and remove the metal bits. He also clipped apart the wire mesh of the landing to make the pieces more manageable.

After clearing up, we now are at this point.

We still have a bit from the steps, but that is easily finished up with a crow bar as well as a hammer and chisel. We also have that pole – which will be a bit more trouble