Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I’ve already been peeking around the 405th site and two options have come forward - pepakura and foam matts. Pepakura is a papercraft program that takes 3D files and unfolds them to be made from paper. Then you can use fiberglass resin to harden the paper. You can also use the Pepakura patterns to make the armor from foam matts by cutting the matts and using hot glue to stick them together. You can also carve details in the foam with a dremel or even exactos.

Both methods have merits. I’ll probably end up doing a mix of both styles. I’m leaning towards making the helmet and main chest armor with pep and fiberglass and the legs and arms with foam. I’ve got experience with making buckles from the Hit-Girl costume, foam work from the foamie Stormtroopers, and working with fiberglass from the Tusken Raider ‘teeth’.

Depending on how much trouble it is, I can then make HALO Spartan armor for us or even Star Wars Clone Commandos

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pre-halloween plans

I was able to get a bit of sifting done on the desk over the weekend. Shan wants more done in the pantry so that will need to be completed as well.

Aside from that, I am now transitioning into pre-Halloween mode. Gee’s costume this year should be pretty basic. Presently, she wants to go as a Sock Monkey. Shan found instructions online about making from a sweater and sweats. As long as she doesn’t change he mind in the next three weeks, we should be fine there.

Shan’s thinking about getting together a steampunk look, so that should be fairly easy as well. I might have to work at some bits and bobs for accessories as needed.

With the room-switch, I even found some of the pieces I had been collecting until critical mass was achieved on the Human-Spider costume. Now that I have the red balaclava I can sew the pinstripes on the blue sweats and paint the sweatshirt. This shouldn’t prove to be too difficult either.

I even told one of Shan’s coworkers I could make her a Resident Evil 3 backpack/holster. That shouldn’t take too much time.

D3 is going to be more of an issue though. At the beginning of the year he had wanted to be the Green Hornet which would have been a simple trip to Value Village for a green suit and coat. Then a bit of leatherwork for the mask and some quick building to a gun would have completed a light year of costuming.
However, he has changed his mind and now wants to be a Halo ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper). Normally this would be too much to do at too late a date but with everything else being so light, this isn’t impossible – merely very difficult. The other point in his favor is that there is a lot of good help online with this through the 405th – which is the Halo version of the 501st – which does Stormtroopers.

Monday, September 19, 2011

pantry, table

I picked up some metal rack from my folks and set them up in what used to be the comic storage room. D3 and I then moved over all the canned goods from the pantry shelf to the racks in the new pantry. Then I was able to clean off the table in the family room by moving stuff to the shelves.

That opens up 3/4 of that room at this point. By clearing the table we can now get to the games behind them and even play them on the table. It also gives me an extra space to clear the desk albeit very temporary as I need to keep it clear at the end of the night.

We picked up a new dvd player (as the old one went to G with the old TV) and hooked that up as well. I confirmed it worked by watching the first disc of Red VS Blue season 6.
We took another small load to the storage unit. We are getting pretty close to our limit until I resort the skid of extras. I also packed up another box of books.

Now I just have to sift my desk to clean it down enough to clear out the stack in the kitchen. I’m hoping by the end of this month – maybe even by the end of the weekend.

Then I can start ramping up for Halloween costumes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Floating City soundtrack

In the Floating City, as you collected and traded cargo you completed songs. Completing a song gave you the download code for that song. Once you completed all 9 songs from an album you got the download code for that album. Even though I am still missing 5 pieces, I had managed to borrow the pieces I need to collect all the songs. Or at least the codes for all the songs – as I haven’t downloaded any of them yet. Actually, I haven’t downloaded anything yet so this will be a first for me.

With completing all the albums, we also were supposed to get a code for a fourth album, Oceanea, which wasn’t part of the game. This code came but it has an expiry date of two weeks. So if I want it, I’m going to have to try and download them sooner rather than later.

I was planning on trying to download them this weekend anyways. This just puts a bit more impetus on it. I’ll let you know how it works out for me.

Update - I got another email asking for my info for an address - it seems they may mail me an actual CD - so a bit of the download pressure may be off.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Frozen City wrapup

So the Floating City finished up on the last Sunday in August. It had been a good game. I certainly spent much more time on it than I should have but it was good fun.
My tribe, the Frozen River, was in the lead when I joined but drifted into second about mid game. Then we slipped into third after the alliances started happening.

Some of my favorite moments were in figuring out parts of the game itself. We weren’t really given a lot of information about scoring or game mechanics beyond simple instructions on trading. We were based in ships, trading cargo for movement. The cargo was divided into songs – with five items completing a song and nine songs completing an album.

I got to know a lot of the players in my tribe and some from other tribes. I want to thank Skipper2501 for telling me about the game – since I’m not a huge Dolby fan I never would have heard about it. My first trade was with Dog Gone back on June 29. I missed the very beginning of the game but was able to catch up. I found a nice trading group with Lee Marvin and Dog Gone and we started to make good distance but then we drifted apart. Gunther Prelude and I were online at similar times and we covered a great amount of distance with flotsam trades. He was supposed to miss game time for work and traded me a bunch of his cargo and t (to do with as I wanted - with no strings attached) but never really missed time. I was glad to give him back the money needed so that he could buy a blimp ticket.
Some of the big names in our tribe when I started were, Ya Arrg, Ronnie Raygun, Pax Luminous, and the Doggedlys – James, John, and Jo. They were all very active on our forum. It was very exciting to finally catch up to them and cross them off my list as I made trades with each of them. Flatrock, Captain Chaos, Captain Merlania, Cap’n Tron were other familiar faces as was Yankee White, Kaigun Chusa Yakamoto, Villamouri, umo, Stacey Quiche from the ‘person above me’ thread. Athena, ian kanai, Captain k-man, Prof Xenia Hitchcock, Nerissa Panic, and Gypsy Fox were others.
Hulu Zoon and Monkey D Luffy were the first players to make a dedicated break for the pole. We were all heading Northwards but they were the first to really devote trades to getting there. Other tribe or not, we all cheered them on and were very excited to see the new achievement of the first two Floating Citizens. I made sure to get at least one trade in with both of them.

Some of the players kept in a persona more than most of us. Haunted Dolls kept in character through the game as far as I could tell. Ya Arrg as a polar bear expressed concerns over the warming arctic and LindseyKai’s ‘just a cat in a boat’ always made me smile.
The other tribes had interesting people as well. Andromeda Strayne was another I traded flotsam back and forth with. There was some confusion about one of our trades when the cursed items came out but we worked it out and I made sure to keep filling in her cargo where I could. When our tribes aligned, we were on the same team!
Lulu Garou, Picup Andropof, hobvias sudoneighm, A. Nomalous had some great names.
Of the people I invited, only a very few accepted and joined. I tried to send messages when they joined to help guide them but most were not very active. My sister Ditch Hopper did become active enough – and did pretty well considering she started the game late. I’ve spoken to her more on the phone in the last year over this game than anything else.

I’m sure I’m going to miss many of names that I should mention but I have to give a special mention to The Cannon. She was fun and enthusiastic and I was glad to finally catch up with her but unfortunately she had to leave the game and missed the formation of the City. We hoped she would make it back in time for the ending but she never did.

A special thanks to the GODs as well – notably Soot Sparrow, Andrhia, and Europa/Verre Darkly. A great big thanks goes out to Captain Smith – besides all the work he did in coding, he was also helpful with a few good trades in the later parts of the game. I was also able to make a trade with Europa directly after the first trial for the elusive Honey.

Even though I am still missing five pieces of cargo, through trading I was able to complete all the songs. Thanks to Dolby for this. I haven’t really heard much of him prior except for She Blinded MeWith Science so this was a nice exposure. For many of the Sorties in the game, they would play a song and you had to decipher the items from the lyrics. I will try and get some actual CDs as I’m still leery about this whole downloaded-music thing. I look forward to downloading them in the near future – they will be my first downloads.

While I didn’t do as many patents as some (Ronnie Raygun, Always Pining) I did enjoy coming up with patents to match the required challenges (birds, pirates, acid rain, curses). I love Lars Elk’ liquid courage anti-squid patent and was honored to see my OSHA curse patent make the Gallery. It certainly helped me to learn the new version of MSPaint – as timing was critical to sketch and scan. The linking to a picture was a bit tricky to get to work though – but I also got to learn WindowsLive’s (Hotmail’s) SkyDrive.

As I’m sure all tribes did, Ronnie Raygun had a set list of the songs we knew and the items contained within. I kept getting him to fix the lists to match they way they were presented in the cargo. Then I had my ‘a-ha moment’ and noticed that the items were always alphabetical.
When we finally started getting a fourth column of songs, I noticed that the songs themselves were alphabetical as well. I had issues with Firefox for a bit and had to use an older version of IE. In that I noticed that if you shrank the songs, they left gaps where later songs would come out. This allowed us to quickly figure out which songs were the likely ones to fill in the missing spaces.

Around this time I also noticed that some songs gave downloads and some didn’t. By making another list we sorted out that it was only songs from 1st column that had no downloads. This made sense as the 1st column was songs from the new album.

Working out where each of the IP addresses sorted into tribes from my Pushing Boundaries thread helped with knowing who I could send invites out to – so they would still be sorted into the correct tribe and we could get the points for inviting.

Working out the different achievements was fun as well. The rampant speculation over how to get the Tidal Master achievement was amusing. As was locking down exactly when the Stealthy Trader was achieved. Luckily they hadn’t fixed the message links yet and I was able to recover all my deleted messages and sort it out.

The ending came as a bit of a letdown. We had been putting together clues and scraps of intelligence throughout the game and the actual final challenge was a lot less difficult than we had thought it would be. It ended up being more a matter of who could get the answers in quicker than the others.
Our alliance of Poison City/Frozen River/Delta ended up in last place. 17 Hills was the one tribe who ended up not aligning with anyone else and they finished in a close second. The winning tribe was the multi alliance of Eastern Bloc/Clubland/Northern Seaboard/Mulberry/Mulu who also won the controversial Book of History challenge.

All-in-all, it was a fun diversion for the summer. I met a bunch of new people and heard enough of Thomas Dolby’s music to decide I liked his work. The game was involved enough to keep interest up and yet didn’t have to take all your time. Good times.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Figure painting total - Aug

I have a few other figures that I have most of the pieces from but not all. That is the downfall of buying in bits. I'm really going to have to work at getting the final pieces. Still I was able to get these:

40K Carnifex (in bits) – 1
40K Hormagaunts (in bits) – 16

Aug figures bought – 17, figures painted – 0
Running total 2011 – figures bought 209, figures painted 0

With (most of) the room shuffle done, I have to work at clearing down the desk to be able to work on it. That should let me get some of these done before we open Christmas presents.

Well, in theory at least.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Books read May to August - 2011

Building Decks by the Editors of FineHomebuilding
Spicy Air Tales, Vol 2 – includes The Great Helium War by Robert E Vardeman and Manhattan Mayhem by Loren L Coleman
The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber

Make it Right: Kitchens and Bathrooms by Mike Holmes
How to Create Fantasy Art for Video Games: A Complete Guide to Creating Concepts, Characters, and Worlds by Bill Stoneham

Badass – a relentless onslaught of the toughest warlords, vikings, samurai, pirates, gunfighters, and military commanders to ever live by Ben Thompson
Damn You, Autocorrect! Awesomely Embarrassing Text Messages You Didn’t Mean to Send by Jillian Madison
When Gadgets Betray Us, the Dark Side of our Infatuation with New Technologies by Robert Vamosi
Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal by Eddie Trunk with Andrea Bussell

World of Geekcraft: Step-by-step instructions for 25 super-cool Craft Projects by Susan Beal
Ridiculously Simple Furniture Projects: Great Looking Furniture anyone can build by Spike Carlsen
The Japanese Grill – from Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat
Vampire Forensics – Uncovering the origins of an Enduring Legend by Mark Collins Jenkins
Time – Albert Einstein – The Enduring Legacy of a Modern Genius by TimeLife Books
Enemies & Allies by Kevin J. Anderson

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Slide puzzle - basically done!

The family-room-shuffle went much better that I had thought. On Saturday we moved over the TV, and pulled out the toy shelf. We moved over the desk and pulled out the bed. We moved over the game shelves and table. We only had to half-empty each one before moving it and then put the games back afterwards. Then we were able to set up the bed again.

All told, it took Shan and me about 4 hours to do all this. This was almost half the time it would have taken if I had to empty out everything before moving it myself. We started early in the morning and were done well before the boy finally awoke at 3pm. We found that the small desk wouldn’t fit behind the door after all so we would have to move a bookcase there. We were much too tired by that point to continue moving furniture on so we took a break and I worked away at boxing up books. We also went out for supper and to get more bins. Gee spent Friday night through Sunday over at a friend’s so at least she wasn’t underfoot.

On Sunday afternoon we got back downstairs and moved the bookcase behind the door. Then we moved the books from the next bookcase to that one and moved that bookcase aside. We then moved over the toy shelf and then took everything off the small desk and then moved it next to the toy shelf. We put the bookcase on the other side of the doorway where the small bookcase had been and moved over the books from the last bookcase into it. Then we took out the extra bookcase. D3 and I did two loads to the storage unit to get rid of the books and newly purchased bins now full of toys.

Having moved the last of my stuff out of his closet and desk, D3 was able to move down his legos, clothes, and toys. I worked away at cleaning down the stuff piled on the bed and Shan worked away at Gee’s room. At this point, the kids are mostly settled, the main part of the family room is back to usable quality again, and my stuff still needs to be sorted and cleaned from my desk. There is a bit to be done on the table and I need to go through and pack away some of the games we have that we aren’t likely to actually play soon. But we’re mostly done.
Quite the weekend (and summer).

Then we can start gearing up for Halloween.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Begin the slide puzzle

Last night I popped in to Walmart and Home Depot on the way home and bought some outlet covers, childproof plug covers, and some flat ended extension cords. I fixed the one cover behind D3's bed and put plug covers on the outlets except one - which I plugged in the extension cord for a light and his clock.

I finished emptying the books out of the first bookcase. Even though he said he didn't need one, we moved that bookcase into the corner of his room. It was a tight fit but it's there. He actually slept down in his room for the first time last night.

Now I can begin the slide-puzzle moves to get the rest of the family room usable again. I have to move the TV where the bookcase was and move the toy cupboard so I can put my desk in that corner. I can move the bed and pile games on my desk so I can move the game shelves where the bed was and then put the bed where the game shelves were.

Then we can work at emptying another bookcase and moving them down so we can put the toy cupboard on the bookcase wall. That may take a bit longer.