Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Whitewash City

After admiring it for quite some time, I finally ordered the Whitewash City from HotzArtWorks. I had downloaded the free sample saloon before and finally ordered the Pioneer (starter) set. The value on this is unbelievably good. For $15.99 you can get it sent as PDFs by email or mailed on CD. It included a Bank, Sheriff’s Office & Jail, Saloon, two hotels, and 6 other buildings. With the extra free saloon this is more than enough to flesh out a small town.

He has many other buildings on his site which enables you to build quite a substantial western town. The files include both the colored and black and white versions of the buildings so you can reuse the same buildings without being as noticeable.

They are scaled to 30mm (1/60) so are a bit big for 1/75 scale plastic figures but are perfect for most 25mm figures. I’m looking to upsize them to 1/35 to be able to use with the cowboy figures I’ve been working at painting.

Monday, July 26, 2010

summer movies

Knight and Day - Finally, a fun movie from Tom Cruise like he used to make. This one has all the charm and fun that we used to expect from him. The story held together enough and the glossing over parts worked very well. Cameron Diaz holds her own in this one. We certainly recommend it as a fun action film. Tom is still 'the guy' in this one.

Predators brought back a lot of the feelings of the first Predator movie. You don’t see the Predators much in this sequel but it doesn’t suffer because of it. Having just seen the Brothers Bloom, we were a bit unsure of Adrian Brody as a callous action hero but he managed to pull it off quite well. The action holds up and the many targeted characters held up enough for an action film. Good fun all around.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice tied in to the part from the Fantasia clip and rolled in with Merlin vs Morgana Le Fey. Nic Cage is suitably wacky and Jay Baruchel came across as a believably dubious apprentice. The blend of physics and sorcery was a nice touch – I loved the Faraday cage and Telsa coil.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cultural Shift - TVs

I grew up in the seventies and eighties. Even then there had been a large cultural shift in technology. Since then there has been another shift.

By then everybody had a color television set. Some people still had a black and white TV as an extra TV but the main set was color. A lot of people had a second TV – some even had mini-portable TVs – with a tiny 1”-3” screen. A few people had old projection TVs - but they were bulky and not very good quality.
Now some people don't even have a TV - they have a media center monitor which doubles as their computer screen. They can also watch video on a portable device with a great picture. Large TVs now take up a lot less room and have a great picture.

When a TV program was on you either had to watch it then or wait for it to play again in reruns during the summer. Then VCRs came out and you were able to tape a program to watch again later. Originally the tapes were very expensive and you had to erase them to use again. Recorded programs (movies, etc) were crazy expensive - $100 a tape when they came out. These prices soon dropped to about $30 a tape.
Now you can download programs and watch what you want, when you want. PVRs allow you to record programs and watch and delete shows at your whim. DVDs are out for about $25 when they first come out - but quickly drop in price until they hit the $5 bins. Many TV series have been released on to DVD, and quickly too - so you can catch any shows that you missed.

Video cameras came out - huge at first (you had to carry the camera and a VCR) and then more portable. This allowed you to record other things and make your own movies. This was much more accessible than the old Super 8 film cameras that were out before – you could see things right away instead of having to send in the film to get processed.
Now most cameras and even cell phones will record video. Camcorders have come down in size and price. Instead of fussing with dubbing tapes, most are able to connect to a DVD recorder or computer and copy onto DVDs. Some cameras even record directly on to digital media – SD cards or mini-discs.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We are now an army!

With the bits I have been getting, and the figures I already have, I think I will work at making an Ork army for 40K. While I do have enough marines to field and almost enough Tyranids, I also have a lot of Orks, especially with the Assault on Black Reach set. They also have the bonus of being Orks – which means I can scratch build some and work on my painting skills.

The Tau and the Necrons both intrigue me – but since I don’t have a base of those figures to start the outlay would be a bit steep to start a new army.
The Space Wolves are certainly high on my list and have the bonus of working with my son’s army. My Dead Heads are fine to field, but are somewhere in my room.
My Tyranids are fine to field but need a few upgrades – and at that point I have to see if I want to change my color scheme.

While I have a lot of Orks buried in my room with my other figures, I have a lot of the new ones on hand too. With the bits I've been getting, I can start to put together a coherent force.
I'm digging through the Ork codex to get point values for the figures I have and to see what to build towards.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Painting with liquid gold

I popped by the local Games Workshop on Sunday. Shan came with me so I pre-warned her about the ‘red shirts’. For those of you who haven’t encountered one of these yet, they are a hyper-enthusiastic sales staff that most GW stores have to push product. Luckily, he wasn’t in – but Shan still found the regular manager pretty pushy.

I was in to pick up some paints for D3’s Space Wolves. I got a Fenris Grey Foundation paint, Boltgun metallic, Space Wolf Grey, and the Asurmen Blue ink. I was looking for Space Wolf Blue Grey but they no longer sell it.
These should let me see how the new foundation paints work and get a good base of the colors so that I can look for cheaper equivalents. The three paints and inks cost about twenty dollars. However, these should be the main one I need to paint up his figures. I finally shook out a Great Company from him and a design for the other shoulders squad markings, so it’s all just a matter of me actually painting them.

Friday, July 9, 2010

why no poets?

We cover poetry and verse in school. We learn rhyme and meter, Limericks, Haikus, and endless variations of ‘Roses are Red.’ Most of us lose all interest and appreciation in it soon after. Sure, you have some angst-ridden teens who churn out reams of doggerel. But most of us have their poetry and verse mocked, beaten, or ridiculed out of us fairly early.

Some do carry on with it. Either in writing song lyrics, composing raps, or even beat poetry. These ones at least get shared. Most poetry that people write seems to be kept private. It might be due to the personal nature of the work or, more likely, to avoid the ridicule of the masses. Blogs and such should allow for more of this to be shared.

I’m not a huge poetry fan but I do appreciate a fine turn of phrase. I like comedy and read voraciously. In blogging, I am able to try and string words together in clever ways and have to keep up with trying to express my thoughts in a somewhat-coherent way.

On Canada Day, I saw a clip of ‘We Are More’ from the Olympics opening ceremonies. This is what inspired me to find a transcript and posted it here. I had to add punctuation though. In looking for it, I came across a bunch of Shane Koyczan’s other works on youtube and became entranced again by the spoken word.

I’m not about to run out and start writing a bunch of poetry. I’m too fond of rhyming to do that. But I may post up the occasional verse that I come across from time to time

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Books read 2010 - Apr - June

Codex Space Marines (5th Edition) by Matthew Ward
Schoolgirl Milky Crisis: Adventures in the Anime and Magna Trade by Jonathan Clements
The Making of King Kong: The official guide to the Motion Picture by Jenny Wake
Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
Codex Imperial Guard (5th Edition) by Robin Cruddace

Comic Book Design by Gary Spencer Millidge
The Alien Invasion Survival Handbook by W.H. Mumfrey
The Great Klondike Gold Rush by Pierre Berton
Codex Tyranid (5th Edition) by Robin Cruddace
Beginner’s Guide to Cake Decorating by Merehurst
The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Cake Decorating by Carol Deacon
Cake Art by The Culinary Institute of America
Jesse Ventura – The Story of the Wrestler they call “They Body” by Matt Hunter
Beaded Chain Mail Jewelry by Dylon Whyte
Codex Orks (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers
Codex Tyranid (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers
Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Williamham
Codex Imperial Guard (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Peter Haines, Andy Hoare, Phil Kelly, & Graham McNeill
Codex Tyranid (4th Edition) by Phil Kelly & Andy Chambers
Codex Tau (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Pete Haines, & Graham McNeill
Codex Tau Empire (4th Edition) by Andy Hoare
Codex Necrons (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Pete Haines, Graham McNeill, Phil Kelly, & Andy Hoare
Codex Eye of Terror (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Peter Haines, Andy Hoare, Phil Kelly, & Graham McNeill

Codex Daemonhunters (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Phil Kelly, & Graham McNeill
Matchless: a Christmas Story by Gregory Maguire
The Reel Truth: Everything you didn’t know you need to know about making an independent film by Reed Martin
Do I Stand Alone? Going to the Mat Against Political Pawns and Media Jackals by Jesse Ventura with Julie Mooney
Codex Orks (4th Edition) by Phil Kelly
Codex Space Marines (3rd Edition) by Jervis Johnson
Codex Space Marines (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Pete Haines, Andy Hoare, Phil Kelly, & Graham McNeill
Codex Battlezone: Cityfight (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Pete Haines, and Jervis Johnson
Link It! : Colorful chain mail jewelry with rubber o-rings by Susan C Thomas
Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie by Mark Millar
The Skate Boarding Field Manual by Ryan Stutt
Iron Man: The Ultimate Guide to the Armored Super Hero by Matthew K Manning

Friday, July 2, 2010

Figure Paint Total - June - more excuses

In June I bought more bits but the only full figure I got was the remaining pieces to mostly complete the Ork Stompa. Being a crazy-busy month, I wasn’t able to finish any painting but did read a bunch of codices so I am psyched to get working on some of these.

40K Stompa (in bits)
June figures bought – 1, figures painted – 0
Running total 2010 – figures bought 83, figures painted 0

Now that the pool seems to be holding its own I will probably be able to start doing some work on this. No, seriously. The wife is pushing me to clean that corner of the kitchen so I’ll have to do something with it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canada Day - We Are More

We Are More
By Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake.

You might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada.

You might rattle off some celebrities -
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie,
might even mention that we've got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we make these crazy things
like zippers,
electric cars,
and washing machines.

When defining Canada,
it seems the world's anthem has been
'been there, done that'
and maybe that's where we used to be at.

It's true.
We've done and we've been,
we've seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada,
don't forget to mention that we have set sparks.

We are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away.
We do more than sit around and say 'eh?'
and yes,
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines,
but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines
off the rocky coast of the Maritimes.

And some say what defines us
is something as simple as 'please' and 'thank you'.
And as for 'you're welcome',
well we say that too.

But we are more than genteel or civilized,
we are an idea in the process of being realized.
We are young.
We are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history.

We are an experiment going right for a change,
with influences that range from A to Zed,
and yes, we say 'Zed' instead of 'Zee'.

We are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy.
We dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow.
We do more than grow wheat and brew bear.
We are vineyards of good year after good year.
We reforest what we clear,
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing no that so many of us
have grown past what used to be.

We can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like 'someday';
'someday we'll be great',
'someday we'll be' this
or that.
Someday we'll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say 'someday'.

We will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks,
more than backpacks and hiking trails,
we are hammers and nails - building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across.
We are the lost and found for all those
who might find themselves at a loss.

We are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others.
We are fathers, brothers, sisters, and mothers,
uncles and nephews, aunts and nieces.
We are cousins.
We are found missing puzzle pieces.
We are families with room at the table for newcomers.

We are more than summers and winters.
More than on and off seasons,
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or so.
We live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are.
We are students;
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why.
We don't have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more.
We don't all know what it is in life we're looking for
so keep exploring.

Go far and wide
or go inside but go deep.
Go deep,
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you've been through hell and high water
and you went deep.

Keep exploring,
because we are more
than a laudry list of things to do and places to see.
We are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate.
We are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait.
We are the first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes,
a country that is all the ways you choose to live,
a land that can give you variety
because we are choice.

We are millions upon millions of voices shouting
'Keep exploring . . . we are more.'
We are the surprise the world has in store for you
it's true.
Canada is the 'what' in 'what's new?'
so don't say 'been there - done that'
unless you've sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun.
Don't say you've been there done that
unless you've been here doing it.

Let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old.
Let us be the story told to your friends
and when the story ends
leave chapters for the next time you'll come back.
Next time pack for all the things
you didn't pack for the first time
but don't let your luggage define your travels.

Each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry.
We are the True North
Strong and Free
and what's more
is that we didn't just say it,
we made it be.