Monday, May 30, 2011

stored and sore

So we were able to get another three loads taken to the storage locker on Saturday. On my last load I noticed that they had some carts to use to help unloading. This would have been good to know on Friday when I had carried boxes of books down the hallway to the locker.
Then I helped Shan turn the soil in the garden so she could plant before the rain started.

On Sunday we took the back seat out of the van and took two loads of comics to the storage locker. Shan and D3 carried them up the stairs and we loaded them in the van. This filled one of the skids 6 layers high with longboxes and regular boxes. That's almost 6 feet of comics - the stack towers over the rest of the family.
(We have a lot of comics).

So we have emptied out the storage room and the comics room and still haven't filled half of the locker. That means I will have plenty of room to move over a bunch of boxes from my room. The funny thing is, because this was all in our storage room and the comics were in the storage closet and hidden from view, even with these moved over it doesn't look like we've made a dent yet. My room will be the same way.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pack away your troubles

It's not really that I can say that we're now the proud owners of a storage locker but rather necessity has driven us to have one. I have a 10'x10'x8' temperature controlled unit. It's costing us $200 a month. In four years it will be $10,000 gone away with nothing to show for it instead of being paid towards renovations done but gang aft agley.

I took a load with me when I went to register Friday morning. I wanted to make sure we got one before they all filled up at the end of the month. The unit came with two skids in it that we will put to use. I was able to get three more loads done in the rain and now our downstairs storage room is over half empty.
We'll try and do another few loads on Saturday, and then see about moving over the comics on Sunday when the rain stops. After that, I can make a start at emptying out my room and we can see what condition it is in.

It's not the best solution but we're trying to make the best of it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Game Day

Some friends had a games day on the holiday Monday. They invited us and two other couples over to play some games. While some played some longer games we banged out a bunch of the smaller games - most of which we hadn't played. At the smaller table, we sat down with Lee, G, and another daughter of one of the friends.

We started with a couple of quick rounds of Toss Up. I've played it before but we like it. It's quick and simple. Of the two games we played I won one.

We followed up with Scrabble Slam. It's another simple game. Of the two games played I won one.

Next we played two games of Feed The Kitty. It belongs to the friend's daughter but is simple and fun. The nice thing about it is that when you are out, you still have a chance to get back into the game. I won one of the two games.

We played a game of Uno Junior and one game of Zombie Dice. After these the kids went off to play and tried some of the newer games.

We tried Spooks. It takes a round to get used to the variations but it was fun. Of the three round played, I won the last two. We didn't try the Master rules but it is definitely one we'll be playing again.

We tried a game of Gloom, which I won. While it seems like a neat game, the cards are difficult to read and I suspect will get harder once they start to scuff. I won but Shan had been confused about the scoring - even though we had gone over it a few times. So we didn't play a second game.

While Lee went to make supper we switched around players and played another three games of Scrabble Slam - which I won another two. Then we played five quick games of Cthulhu Dice. While I only won one game, madness was had by all.

It was a fun day. With good friends and games played - we need to do this more often.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spring chores

A few things have interrupted my western town building of late. The first is finally getting a new laptop – which means that I can finally play Hellgate after all these years. So far, I’m liking it!

The second is having the possibility of a game room in our renovation plans dashed by the bank. It was a long shot but as the time went along I got more and more used to the idea. The vision of being able to spread out a game and walk away from it afterwards – cleaning it up later became more and more appealing. With that off the table for now, we’ve had to take a bit harder look at our current set up and have decided we need to put a lot of stuff into storage for now. Not just some of the non-played games (that we want to keep) but also older toys, and other stuff.

That said, we’ve never done off-site storage before. I’m figuring that we probably want a heated/cooled unit. Has anyone out there done this before? Our basic storage unit is a printer paper box. Would these hold up? Anyone have good experiences or is storage always a bad step before just getting rid of everything?

Finally, now that we've gotten some nice weather (and having no renovations to interupt us), we have yard work to do. We did our first mow of the year on Monday. Shan raked the front yard yesterday - we still have the back to rake. We'll have to turn the garden, move the last composter to the back, and see if I can cut the metal pole by the back gate to make room for a shed. I'm thinking about removing the pole for the old pool cover as well.
Then we have to decide if the summer will be warm enough to set up the pool.

Friday, May 13, 2011


So the bank came back and renovations are out for now. Even though the appraisal for the value after renovations came back at $270K (and they had said we needed at least $250K) it was still denied by CMHC as it would eat up all the equity that we currently have in the house. Since we have no plans to move in the next two decades we didn’t see it as a problem but they don’t see it that way.

We had to notify our renovator again. He was quite understanding about it. We look forward to trying to proceed again with this at a later date. We’ll give it a few years and try again. In the mean time, we’ll have to move D3 into the basement – which means that I’ll lose my room (which, since it was cubically packed, I wasn't getting too much use out of anyways).

So the plan now is to move a bunch of our boxes from storage in the basement to off-site storage. Then we’ll move everything out of my room into either the space created or into off-site storage. Then D3 gets moved into my former room and we'll have to reconfigure the downstairs as needed. Then we’ll also have to reconfigure D3’s and G’s room into being just hers.

It’s going to be a busy summer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


We took Shan to see Thor on the weekend – for Mother’s Day. I had a few concerns before seeing it but was very pleased with the way they had managed them. While I had occasionally read the Thor comics I didn’t follow it closely so, while it seemed fine to me, more faithful readers may have issues. I am fairly conversant with Norse mythology, unlike some of the other people we saw it with – but both sides were able to follow along.

Thor is portrayed as a belligerent bully only interested in glory and gets humbled by his time on earth. His costume, another Kirby one, made the translation to the big screen without too much modification. The look of Mjolnir, and its use was very consistant to the comics - the spinning, throwing, steadfastness, and return were all well represented. Odin, Heimdall, and Lady Sif are all handled well. The Warriors Three appear in more than just a cameo, Jane Foster comes across a bit goofy but plausible.
I did have a bit of an issue with the movie making it look like Odin lost his eye in battle with the frost giants instead of giving it up for knowledge but most people won’t know anything amiss about it. The Rainbow Bridge was a bit cheesy but still worked. I really liked how Thor explained the World Tree to Jane - it helped to bridge the myth vs science part very well.

Who really stands out is Loki. Not only does he actually wear the crazy Kirby-horned helmet, but they actually made it look not goofy. He is portrayed as scheming more to bring about a good end rather than scheming for evil’s sake – Luthor and Doom could definitely take note here. It’s a lot easier to see him as a misguided hero than a two-dimensional villain. I think he was very well done.

Little nods to long-time fans include the references to Donald Blake, the appearance of Stan ‘the Man’ Lee, the billboard listing “Land of Enchantment, Journey Into Mystery” (Thor first appeared and starred in the comic Journey Into Mystery before eventually getting his own self-titled book), and Hawkeye. While barely seen on camera, the sarcastic wit in his brief scene really makes me look forward to Hawkeye’s next appearance. Shan may be a big Green Arrow fan, but I’ve always been a bigger fan of Hawkeye.

All and all, we were very pleased with the film. I feel it felt true to both of the source materials (comics and myths). The costumes and look were true enough to the comics style and the sense of a bigger world that the Marvel comics do so well was handled well. I think it is a good addition to the Marvel set of movies and will help bring nonreaders up to speed in preparation for the Avengers film.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

FCBD - results

Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. We hit Galaxy Comics and Comics Factory IV as usual. In addition to the free comics, and Green Lantern Herocix, we also picked up some comic and magazine boxes, some comics and graphic novels.

We also popped in to Pendragon Games. We picked up another copy of Crimson Skies (WizKids), the card games Ren Faire and Weapons of Mass Destruction, and G picked up Chicken Pox and Mad Cow Disease (like beanie babies but with cutesy diseases).

We also popped in to Michaels and picked up some fabric markers and t-shirts to make the kids some cup-o-dirt shirts.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Books read January to April - 2011

Starship Troopers RPG – The United Citizen’s Federation by Greg Lynch
Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
The Battles of the War of 1812 by Pierre Berton
The DC Comics Guide to Pencilling Comics by Klaus Janson
Steampunk Style Jewelry by Jean Campbell
Jewelry Design Challenge by Linda Kopp

Last Words by George Carlin with Tony Hendra
Leather Jewelry: 30 Contemporary Projects by Nathalie Mornu
The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer by Doron Swade
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
Blood Lines: Richard Matheson’s Dracula, I Am Legend, and other Vampire Stories edited by Mark Dawidziak
Intercepting Fist – The Films of Bruce Lee and the Golden Age of Kung-Fu Cinema by Jack Hunter
Ceramic Bead Jewelry: 30 fired & inspired projects by Jennifer Heynen
Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics by Stan Lee

Creative Silver Chains: 20 Dazzling Designs by Chantal Lise Saunders
Creating Comics – 47 Master Artists Reveal the Techniques and Inspiration Behind Their Comic Genius by Judith Salavetz & Spencer Drate
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz
American Conspiracies by Jesse Ventura with Dick Russell
The People: A Historical Guide to the First Nations of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba by Donald Ward
The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

Creative Woodcarving for Beginners: Basic Techniques – 50 Projects by Reinhold Budeker, Jorg Hille, Nicola Mazrek, Mareen Pries & Karsten Selke
Halloween Trivia: ghosts, Ghouls, Skeletons, Vampires, Witches, Graveyards, Spiders, Zombies, Haunted Houses by Tonya Lambert
George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt by Lucy & Stephen Hawking
Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Renovations - second chance

So I had a nice chat with the bank manager. It did look like the rep we had been dealing with had mixed up the plans and forgotten about our primary renovation option - with just the second floor. Even though this had been our main goal originally.

The end result is that we are resubmitting the info and they will have an appraiser re-evaluate the second floor renovations alone and see if it helps the numbers to get our approval. I contacted the contractor and he seems pretty good about it. He sent through an updated detailed quote and I have forwarded it along to the bank.

The manager said that they'll try to push it along a bit quicker and hopes to let me know (one way or the other) by next weekend. If it is approved and we still have our slot, it could be a whirlwind time for the next month as we pack and get things ready.

It might be a bit of a hassle, but it would be one I would gladly go through for the end result.
Interesting times.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

April figure buying total

So a few more bits came in to complete the following:

40K Trygon/Mawloc (in bits) – 1
40K Gargoyles (in bits) - 10
40K Tyranid Warriors (in bits) – 3

Apr figures bought – 14, figures painted – 0

Running total 2011 – figures bought 192, figures painted 0

I really need to wash the animal figures and base them to make a good dent on my total for this year.