Friday, December 28, 2012

Scale Model Addict - the next step

Scott Girvan from ScaleModelAddict has taken the next step. In addition to the videos, and the website, he has now made ScaleModelAddict into a bi-monthly magazine.

The first issue is set for January but they have already been printed so if you order he will send one out.

We wish him all the best in this endeavor. I’m trying to shuffle some funds to see if I can get a subscription – the magazine price isn’t bad but the shipping is a bit of a bear up here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

knobs and taps

We popped in to Rona and picked up more knobs to finish changing the cupboard knobs in the kitchen. We also picked up some handles to match and changed the knobs in the bathroom as well.

We were going to change the taps in the bathroom last weekend but I couldn’t find any Teflon tape. So that will have to wait for this weekend. Walmart was out so we ended up at Rona again. It took a bit to find as I’m used to the tape being in a blue reel but Rona has it in a red reel.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Nutchos – for nut nuts

At this time of the year I get nostalgic for Nutchos. For those of you who aren’t “nut nuts”, Nutchos were a chocolate that Nestle used to make that was loaded with nuts but didn’t have caramel. They used to come in a six inch cube with three or four layers of chocolates and they were only really available around the holidays.

They were always hard to find. Luckily, Shan was also a fan so when we came across them shortly after getting married, we bought a half dozen of them to tide us over through the year. For the next few years we made sure to top up our reserves when we could. Then they came out a few years later with a flat box and a slightly different recipe – having swapped out some of the nuts for crisps but we still picked up a bunch of boxes.

We haven’t seen any of them at all for the last few years so they might have been taken out of production again. There doesn’t really seem to be an alternative - with the Pot of Gold nut collection being pretty hit-and-miss for quality, it seems that we are out of luck.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Holidays

Happy Christmas to you and yours from me and mine - as applicable.
Another holiday picture from the Leg - our tax dollars at work.  The open house was a lot less crowded this year - due to the weather.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

more wiring fixed

In correcting the bathroom light, some of the wiring had to be rerun. In order to rerun the wiring some holes were cut in the hall as well as the bathroom ceiling. The bathroom ceiling has been a mess since we had some leaking a few winters ago.

After a trip to Rona for supplies, we replaced the wet insulation and tuck taped up the plastic. As we had suspected, the vent tube from the exhaust fan was no longer attached to the outside vent but was instead venting warm, moist air into the cool space of the roof. Using duct tape, we fixed that as well.

So we had a bit of leaking while the air space cooled due to condensation. We left the drywall off and cut a hole in the plastic sheeting to allow drainage. It drained for a couple of days and then was fine. But with the warmer days we had, a bit of the ice dams on that end of the roof melted and needed to be drained as well.

We’ll get it ready – but not close up the drywall until before Christmas. We might open it back up to check before the spring melt.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Renos - counters and door to deck

Last week Monday was a busy day for renovations. They came in to change the kitchen window out for a door. They also replaced the kitchen counters.

Even though they had checked before, there was an electrical wire running under the window that had to be rerouted. Shan had picked out the door but we thought it have more glass in it. The one installed was solid – which makes that corner a bit darker.

In rerouting the wire, we lost power to a few outlets on the counter as well as the bathroom light. We got to use the battery powered camp lantern for a few days until we could get the electrical fixed.

The counter replacement went smoother. Both the large one by the sink and stove as well as the smaller one between the fridge and freezer were swapped out. We had the old one replaced with a darker one that will match better with the new flooring when that gets done in the new year.
Since they had to take the sink and taps out to replace the counter we had them put in new taps that we had picked out at Rona.  The stainless steel double sink we had was still fine so we just reused it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Car woes - new battery

We had a bit of trouble with the van on the weekend. On Sunday, the signals stopped working and we were unable to restart it. We got a boost and it stalled out again on the way home. We picked up a new battery but the battery light kept coming on.

On Monday, I drove the van to work and back and the battery light would come on occasionally. That night I took it to Walmart to return the old battery and it stalled again on the way home.  We tried to boost it but had to call CAA to have it towed.

It seems that there is a problem with the alternator – which is apparently what the battery light actually indicates. So my dad is going to change that out for us.  Luckily it did not happen while on holidays or in the depths of winter.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Snow delay

With the dump of snow, certain renovations need to be put on hold until the spring. The back roof being the main one. In the meantime, if we thaw a bit for the weekend, I may pick up a can of that spray rubber to try until then.

The wood from the deck, and the broken sofa chair from the living room also need to go to the dump. We also have some piping from the old pool that needs to be cut down for the garbage. While we can still take a load during the winter, it gets a lot messier with all the snow. 

I have cleaned down my corner of the kitchen and we took down the garland and lights in the kitchen in preparation for the door to the deck going in. Since that had to go somewhere, it ended up downstairs which puts a bit more pressure on cleaning up the downstairs again to make that desk a viable surface on which to work.

Friday, November 9, 2012

New tub surround

Bathfitters came out and did manage to change out the tub surround in one day. The removed the old surround and some of the drywall where it had gotten wet through the cracks in the old surround.
I was concerned that it would have had mold in behind to the insulation but it didn’t penetrate that far. They replaced the drywall with greenboard and put in the new surround.

Because it now goes up to the ceiling and the doors are higher, it makes it seem a bit tighter in the shower but it’s not really. The surround also covers the tub itself and has a grid in the bottom to prevent slipping. They didn’t put back the vent cover but that was easy to finish. They replaced the hot and cold taps with one combined tap (which I don’t like) and the shower doesn’t have the power that it used to.

But even with that, they did a great job. They were very tidy and neat and the finished work is very nice. I would certainly recommend them to anyone who needs a change.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Passport to adventure?

Since we don’t really travel beyond our borders except for the occasional trip down to Fargo, I never needed a passport. The one time I flew, to Vegas for the GAMA Trade Show, was back in 2000 so we didn’t need passports yet.

When the requirements came around for greater security when crossing the border by car, instead of getting a passport, I opted for an Enhanced ID card. Besides being cheaper, it was much more convenient to get. With the RFID chip and the sleeve to block the RFID signal, I don’t usually keep the card with me – and opted not to change my Driver’s License over to one that included the Enhanced ID.

I only use the Enhanced ID when I cross into the States and don’t use it the rest of the year. I had neglected to check last year after we got back and didn’t notice that it had expired.

When I went to renew it, I was told that it was too late to renew it and that I would have to go down and re-apply again – meaning that I wouldn’t get my card back in time to go to the states last weekend. Frustrating – but totally my fault.

So I had to rush to apply for a passport and then rush downtown to drop it off and pay extra for the faster service to ensure it was here it time. I had to pop down last Thursday to get it.

So, what do I get in the mail last week Tuesday? An Enhanced ID. The renewed one that they said they couldn’t do in time and without me having to go down and re-interview.

Friday, October 19, 2012

In the Grim Dark Future passed

Now that people are upgrading, they are parting with the old editions. I was able to snag a hardcover copy of the 5th Edition 40K rulebook. I’m looking forward to it tiding me over until I get the 6th Edition boxed set after the holidays.

Why get an old copy if I already had the small rulebook from the boxed set? In addition to the rules, there is a lot more ‘fluff’ or background info as well as modeling info and pictures in the hardcover edition. Through all the years, even the place-holder ones when I haven’t really been playing, the background on the system has really managed to keep my interest.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fence me in?

The fence and deck is the next project. We made sure to get the Call Before You Dig people to check over the area and have no pipes to watch out for. We even told the neighbors on both sides about it. We have burned down the wood piled against the fence and have cleared away anything that had been against the fence so that they can work.

Gee wanted to take down the old deck so we started on the weekend and managed to remove all the decking – leaving the stairs and supports. We could have done more but we’re taking out the nails as we go.

We’ve got Bathfitters scheduled to come next week and change the tub surround. We popped into Revy and Shan picked out her new counter and has been looking at faucets. She’s still booking a date with the flooring people. She’s picked the new kitchen door to the deck – they said that they can book that anytime. She also picked out the shingles with the roofers but they haven’t booked a date yet.

Friday, October 5, 2012

AC done - as such

The first project done was the air conditioning. We had looked at Furnasman as they had put in our furnace but their quote was very high – almost $7000. Shan got a quote from Sears that was under $4000 so she went with that.

The boy and I had to clear out the wall of shelves so that they could have easy access to the furnace as well as clean out the laundry room. They came on Wednesday and so far have not impressed us.

Shan’s not happy with where they put the outside unit – as it will severely cut into her deck-space. They didn’t use the hole that was already there but instead drilled a new hole in the wall to the outside unit.

Instead of going above the ceiling like we requested, and were charged more for, they attached the tubing underneath the ceiling. They also had trouble attaching the wiring to the thermostat and took off (and left off) the door moulding and cut two holes in the wallpaper. They also left the wire connected along the outside of the wall.

My brother came over and fished a wire through the wall for them to use so that when they came back the next day they were able to pull it up behind the wall using that. He didn’t repair the holes as ‘he was just the electrician not the installer’.

To recap, inconvenient spot for the outside unit, wrong placement of the wiring/tubing downstairs, and holes left in the walls but a savings of about $3000 - so annoying but barely passable. We’ll be able to better judge based on how it performs next summer.

Friday, September 28, 2012

dog days of summer

It looks like this might be one of the last really nice weekends before the weather starts to turn. I should take advantage of it and enjoy the outside – maybe get some fibreglassing done on D3’s ODST helmet.

Instead, we’ll probably be doing a bunch of yard work like closing out the pool and garden. We should burn down a bit more of the branches and rake up more of the crabapples. Add a bit of driving around getting fabric for Gee’s costume and that should eat up the weekend.

I am hoping to squeeze in a bit of time to get to a few of the comic book store for Heroclix though. Maybe even a bit of time to play one of the new games.

I should get in some good time cleaning up my desk and sorting out if there are any parts to keep from the old computers but those might have to wait until mid-October when I get some days off.

Monday, September 24, 2012

booking renos

We’ve been busy over the last two weeks. We’ve had a bunch of renovators come in and give quotes. We’ve paid a few deposits and booked some work.

So far we have booked for installing central air, new fence and patio, changing the window in the kitchen to a door, and changing our tub surround. The roofers are coming back tonight so hopefully we can finalize that as well.

We are still waiting to hear back about replacing the counter top and flooring in the kitchen and bathroom. Shan’s been busy cleaning and we’ve done a few loads to the storage unit as well as to Value Village.

D3 and I removed the rest of the electrical conduit and the former piping for the old pool heater as requested by the deck people.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

new bank - renovations partially on

Since our mortgage was up for renewal anyways, we spoke to a new bank and they were much more helpful in the matter of finding money for renovations. Shan’s been dealing with them for a bit and I went down on Tuesday to sign a bunch of forms to move our mortgage. Shan’s also been getting estimates for a bunch of different renovations.

We still weren’t able to get enough for the big renovations yet but we will be able to do a bunch of other renovations that also needed to get done. This includes replacing the tub surround, the kitchen counter, the flooring in the bathroom through kitchen, replacing the fence, adding a deck, adding air conditioning, and changing the kitchen window to a door.

In addition, since we won’t be putting a second floor above the kitchen/bathroom yet, we’re going to fix the roof on that side. It seems a bit of a waste to fix the roof now only to rip it off in (hopefully) a few years for the renovations but it really needed to be done. With it fixed we can repair some of the water damage at our own pace.

We already had the electrical panel replaced with a new one. The old one kept kicking off when we had any three of (washer, dryer, dehumidifier, oven, microwave, hair dryer, room air conditioner) on at the same time. Since the replacement, we have had no problems. This means we don’t have to keep resetting the clocks on everything all the time.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Books read - May to August 2012

The Illustrated Star Wars Universe by Ralph McQuarrie and Kevin J Anderson
Heat Wave by Richard Castle
The Ultimate Book of Gangster Movies by George Anastasia & Glen Macnow
The Absolute beginners guide: Making Metal Clay Jewelry by Cindy Thomas Pankopf
Eat This Not That 2012 by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding
1000 Steampunk Creations: Neo-Victorian Fashion, Gear & Art by Dr Grymm with Barbe Saint John

Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee
Steampunk gear, gadgets, and gizmos: a maker’s guide to creating modern artifacts by Thomas Willeford
Hayes: Millenium Falcon modified YT-1300 modified Corellian freighter: owner’s workshop manual by Ryder Windham

Crimson Skies: Pirate’s Gold – Wings of Fortune: Book 1 by Stephen Kenson
Codex: Dark Angels (4th ed) by Jervis Johnson and Andy Hoare
The Art of Steampunk by Art Donovan
Steampunk Emporium by Jemma Hewitt

The Boy’s Book of Mechanical Models by William B. Stout
The Old West: The Railroaders by Time Life Books
The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlen
The Steampunk Bible by Jeff Vandermeer with SJ Chambers
Zombies!: An Illustrated History of the Undead by Jovanka Vuckovic
Fine Woodworking Best Workbenches by the Editors of Fine Woodworking
CelebraTori by Tori Spelling

Friday, August 31, 2012

GW and Mark - both good in my books

I had let a few issue of White Dwarf 391 pass by on ebay because Mark from the local GW was seeing what he could do. Since they have me as a subscriber for the last 4 years they said that they would look around for one. I’ve been subscribing for over 10 years but they have passed the information from UK to US to Canada and back as the printing of the issues has changed. Mark has already been great in this matter so anything more would be outstanding. In calling him back he said that they were able to find a copy and had mailed it to me.

This is beyond anything I could have expected. Many people are down on Games Workshop for being an evil, money-grubbing corporation but they have certainly done more than right by me in this matter. Mark’s help in this is even better – if only they were more local I would certainly patronize it more.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fire is your friend

While we were out and about the weekend before last, we popped by the real Canadian Superstore and out front they were blowing out some summer merchandise. We picked up a fire pit that started at $89.95 and had been reduced to $69.95 and was being blown out at $19.95.

Our old pit has served us well in the last decade but rust has finally claimed it. When we went to put it away last month after the last time we used it, the area around one of the bolts holding the leg gave way and the leg fell off.

The new pit went together pretty well and seems to work well enough for us. It’s not as deep as the old one or quite as solid but it is a bit more stylish and hotdogs and marshmallows roasted up equally well in it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

White Dwarf - subcription hiccup

My White Dwarf subscription had lapsed. Back in the day, they used to notify you that your subscription was coming to an end. But since they have changed it back to a North American edition they no longer do this. Since subscribers often won’t get an issue until the second week of the month, I wasn’t certain until last week that it wasn’t coming – and I wasn’t able to get to the ‘local’ Games Workshop until Wednesday.

I can’t really complain as I had last renewed back in Feb and received issues up to July. I finally managed to pop by Games Workshop and Mark hooked me up with another year’s subscription but the August issue had a minicodex for 40K in it and has completely sold out. I could get them delivered to the store but, with them not being open on Mondays and Tuesdays, and being located in St Vital – I’m rarely able to get to the store to pick them up.

The renewal kicks back in for the December issue so Mark will hold a copy of the new issues until I’m getting them again. I checked Chapters, McNally’s, and even Comics America to see if they had a copy of the August issue – but none did. So I will have to try my luck on the secondary market.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Games for $10

I picked up a copy of Beowulf: The Movie and a Mutant Chronicles starter. I’m not sure how either will be – but the are both Fantasy Flight games for $10 each so I figured that I couldn’t go too far wrong.

I hadn’t really noticed that the Mutant Chronicles was a starter and not a regular game when I first picked it up but when I did I figured I’d give it a try anyways. They had more starters so if I need more figures I can always pick up a few more sets – if they’re able to work together. Otherwise I could always see if I can modify them to work with Inquisitor.

The Beowulf seems much more complex then what one would be led to believe from the picture and copy on the back. I'll have to let you know how it is if I can get the kids to play it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Got Get Bit!

We finally got a copy of Get Bit! I’m not liking the new packaging though – with the plastic window. I find that it just isn’t as solid as a fully cardboard lid.

I’m also a bit annoyed that you can no longer get the Sharkspansion set. I understand that the Kickstarters were miffed when they heard that the expansion would also be available to regular people – thinking that it was an exclusive. But an expansion like that should available on an ongoing basis – or even added to the basic set – like the extra bugs in Hive.

I can always make a set of cards but would have liked to have a matching set.

Friday, August 10, 2012

40K - sixth time's a charm?

I have been putting off teaching the boy 40K as there was a new edition pending. The 4th edition boxed set, Battle For Macragge had a nice tutorial for teaching new player, but by the time he had the set the 5th edition was out. We got busy and I kept meaning to go through the tutorial and use the basis with the new rules but never found the time.

Now that the 6th edition has finally come out, I think it is time to teach him the rules for the Grim Dark Future.

Of course, I will need to get a copy of the rules first – but they are on my short list. I might wait and see what the boxed set for 6th edition contains first. I’m also still looking to get a copy of the 5th edition hardcover as well now that they have come down.

I’ll also need to verify the codices – I still have two from 2nd edition that are still unaccounted. I have all the codices from the 3rd edition, and only need 4 from the 4th edition and the last 4 from the 5th edition.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Too hot

I don’t handle the heat well. It’s probably left-over from when I was hyperthyroidial and it always felt about 10 degrees warmer to me. If the temperature starts to edge above 26 degrees Celsius then I’m not doing well. Above 32 degrees and I’m really tired and cranky.

With the warm weather that we’ve been having lately, I haven’t been getting much done beyond trying to clear down our PVR enough to upgrade to a larger model. We would have upgraded as soon as they became available but you lose anything recorded on the old PVR when the new model is added.  We want to be switched over before the new season starts.

While not doing the major renovations, we are still looking at having some work done. We’re getting estimates for fixing the roof, the tub surround, and adding an air conditioner. As always, dealing with contractors is a varied experience – with some more reliable than others. It is proving to be an interesting time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tsuro acquired!

On the Friday before the July long weekend I popped into Pendragon’s on the way home and was finally able to get a copy of Tsuro. It was a few dollars more than it would have been at GameKnight but at least it was in stock. No Get Bit! in sight there either.

A quick setup and we were able to get some games in that night. So that definitely saves me the ‘trouble’ of having to make one. Now I can make a travel version when I get time.

According to the rep on they are resupplying and should expect more in stores by mid-July. We let GameKnight know that we no longer needed the Tsuro but are still interested in getting the Get Bit!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tsuro - still denied - Thanks Wil!

We popped back into Game Knight to see if Tsuro and Get Bit! Had come in – but they were still on backorder. They only had the Mayfair version of Hey, That’s My Fish – with the wooden pieces. They did have a bunch of the Castle Panics though – I may have to pop back and pick one up.

My wife, who loves me, had bought me a Deluxe Hey, That’s My Fish from Kite and Kaboodle. It’s the Mayfair version but comes with the painted plastic penguins instead of the wooden shapes. She paid a bit more for it than I would have but she was annoyed at not being able to get a Tsuro or Get Bit! At least this way I won’t have to paint them – my painting vs buying total isn’t so good lately.

My daughter and I have already played it a few times. It seems simple enough with a fair amount of replayability. The penguins are a good size and the hexes make a board that fits nicely on our coffee table. The only odd thing is the rules mention to shuffle the tiles face down but our tiles are double sided – with fish on both sides. This doesn’t really affect play as you have to adjust the board anyways if the higher-fish floes clump together.

If I can’t find a Tsuro or Get Bit! I may have to make a temporary copy for us to play until they finally restock. Both games are pretty simple to replicate and the rules are basic enough to remember.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quick - draw condiment gun

For Father’s Day, my daughter picked out a Condiment Gun from Avon for me. I had never seen one before. It looks a bit like a ray gun and has two triggers – one for ketchup and one for mustard. When you open it up, there are two containers – each of which is compressed by a trigger.

I haven’t tried it out yet – but it looks pretty keen.

Here is a picture from the web site - the site doesn't have it listed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

dial of the times

Back in the day, the odometers on cars used to actually be a series of dials. As the lower dials rolled past nine back to zero, the dial to the left would increment one as well. This became more fun when you ‘rolled it’ or went from 99999.9 to 00000.0 (as they didn’t show hundreds of thousands).   I remember seeing it happen a few times from when I was a youth and it always left an impression on me.

So on the old car, when we came close to rolling the odometer, we piled the kids in the backseat and drove around the Safeway parking lot a bit until it rolled over so they could see.

With the van, I recently ‘rolled it’ from 199,000 to 200,000. 

With the new digital odometers, it’s not nearly as cool.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Fish - bigger or smaller box?

After Keycon, I had popped into Game Knight to check out some games that we had played at the convention. Game Knight had been a sponsor and had a table of games that you could borrow to play. They had Lascaux but did not have Tsuro or Get Bit! in stock. They said that they had both on order and took my name to call me when they came in.

It’s now been a month and I haven’t heard from them.

I finally managed to pop into Kite and Kaboodle at the Forks over the weekend. They have a facebook page and when I asked if they had Tsuro they said they too had it on order and it might have come in but it hadn’t.

While I was there I did see the box for Hey, That’s My Fish. I had heard a bit about this game as well but the box was smaller than I thought. In checking it out online at BGG, I find that there were 2 versions – one a bit bigger than the other. The bigger one also has painted figures instead of merely colored ones. I’m not sure it’s worth the extra money for the bigger box – but we’ll see.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


It’s been pretty wet and rainy lately.  Which has meant that, except for cutting the lawn twice, we haven’t had to do a lot of yardwork.  This has allowed us a bit of time to try to catch up on the shows recorded on the PVR.  Now we are no longer right at our buffer limit and we even watched the rest of Boardwalk Empire.

I’m looking at connecting the laptop (which has an HDMI output) to the TV (which has RCA connections in front).  I don’t seem to be having any luck finding a HDMI to RCA cable so I might have to check to see if the VCR/DVDR has a HDMI input I can use.  This way we can watch Tabletop on the TV instead of having to crowd around the laptop.  It will also make it easier to watch The Guild as well.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tabletop - on the list

I’ve been following Wil Wheaton’s blog for quite some time now.  It turns out that he is also a big-time gamer in addition to being an actor and author.  He recently started a youtube channel Tabletop where he plays a board game with people – actors and others.
They are running through some of the Eurogames Like Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride as well as games like ZombieDice.
Two of the games that he has shown on Tabletop - Tsuro and Get Bit! I was able to try out at Keycon over the weekend.

I’ve seen Tsuro advertised before from WizKids but it never hooked me.  The theme of dragons flying on pathways in the air just didn’t make we want to pursue it.  Seeing it on Tabletop got me interested enough to play it at Keycon and it definitely makes the list.  Besides being visually elegant it also plays very well up to 8 people.  It’s simple to explain and easy to pick up.  Even though I worked out the permutations for the tiles, I’ll look to pick up a copy.

Get Bit! was also shown on Tabletop and we managed to play a bunch of games at Keycon.  You play robots swimming away from a hungry shark.  As the shark catches the last robot in line, you actually pull the limbs off the robot.  It plays up to 6 people and is also quick and easy to learn.  I’ve added it to my list even though you can no longer get the variant that allows you to play as the shark.  Also, they played it slightly wrong on Tabletop so be aware when you play it – after the shark bites off a limb, that robot is flung to the front of the line.

While they showed Ticket to Ride on Tabletop, I didn’t catch the episode until after Keycon so never had enough interest to play during the convention.  It seems interesting enough to give it a try but not enough to actually put on the list.

At the convention, I finally saw Power Grid being played.  It seems a bit too fiddly for my crowd so it doesn’t make the list.  I may change if I play it but it didn’t inspire me enough to rush out and try it yet.

In the Great Canadian Board Game Blitz I saw a bunch of other games being played that caught my eye – notably Lascaux and Acquire.

I’ve known about Acquire for decades but never played it or knew anyone who had.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and in seeing it played and reading the rules it seems like it might be worth trying.  I’m not putting it on the list unless I can find a deal on a copy though.

I also got to see Lascaux being played.  Besides the pretty stones, the game seems quite simple to play and devious enough to keep interesting.  It quickly made the list as well.

On Wednesday, I finally was able to get to Game Knight.  Since they moved to Osborne, I haven’t been able to find their store while driving by but with their updated website showing the actual storefront, I finally did.  They have a good selection of games but were between shipments of Tsuro and Get Bit!  They did have a copy of Lascaux left though so I snapped it up right away.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Keycon 29 - successful gaming

I first came to Keycon to play Car Wars back at Keycon 3 and used to come year after year.  I had run a local game convention called Wincon and had even run the gaming room at Keycon for a few years but haven’t attended Keycon in about a decade (kids will do that to you).  We still popped by every year to check out the dealers’ room but didn’t attend the convention.

But when Tim asked me to help by running gaming, I couldn’t say no to him.  He had always been very helpful to us and had never really asked for anything in return.  He had a specific list of games that he wanted to see so I had to comply and was glad to do so.

Just prior to the convention, Tim had to drop out of being the con chair.  Which meant that I didn’t have to run everything Tim had wanted but I still felt compelled to follow through on my commitment to run gaming.

Overall, the gaming went well.  

We had Scott from the Manitoba Pathfinder Lodge running Pathfinder Society organized play scenarios all weekend. 

Jim from Jimcon was there with a bunch of his own games and a bunch of games from Game Knight that people could borrow and play.  Together we ran the Great Canadian Board Game Blitz on Saturday starting at noon.  We weren’t sure what kind of a turn out we would have but we got eighteen players signed up.  Twelve players played in at least 3 of the 5 rounds and five players played in all 5 rounds. 

I didn’t get to see much of the rest of the convention but I was able to run my Grid Games – Disc Battles and Lightcycles on Friday night.  I finished making the grid that day using black foamcore and pin striping. 
The Disc Battles went well.  The rules held up fine until we got down to just two players when it became more of a matter of waiting for the right run of cards. 
I didn’t manage to finish the 3D trails for the Lightcycles but was able to trim down some post-it notes to use instead.  The rules still need a bit more clarifications but the basic structure seemed to work fine.

I also ran Circus Imperium on the Saturday night.  We had a great turnout with nine players and were down to a single player by the third lap due to players in HTH both knocking each other out - twice.

I was able to try out a few games and check out some rules for others.  Between this and Tabletop, I’ve added Tsuro, Lascaux, and Get Bit! to my list of games to get and I’m close to finally moving Acquire on to the list as well.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kickstarter OGRE

I tried to get the freindly local game store to order in the Kickstarter OGRE but had trouble explaining it him about differences with Kickstarter version with bonus extras (paid for now) against the 'regular' designer's edition that he could order through regular channels.  I should have been leery when he kept saying he had three in stock already (deluxe editions).

Regardless, I did try.

So I ended up ordering directly through Kickstarter.  I picked up a prepaid gift card and placed my order.  I had a bit of issues trying to get the Amazon payment part of Kickstarter but was finally able to get it sorted out. 

So now it's just a matter of saving up to cover the duties in the fall.
I'm very excited that it when through and am looking forward to this.  I'm going to have to keep more of an eye on Kickstarter now.  Especially with Car Wars coming through later this year.

End numbers for project - 5,512 backers pledged $923,680 and ordered 5689 copies of the game.  So,I guess that shows that there is interest in this game.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Books read January - April 2012

Robot Builder’s Bonanza by Gordon McComb
Married With Zombies by Jessie Petersen
123 Robotics Experiments for the Evil Genius by Mike Predko
Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen
The Wizards’ Handbook: an essential guide to Wizards, Sorcerers, and Magicians and their Magic by Dr Robert Curran

Chain and Bead Jewelry Geometric Connections: a new angle on Creating Dimensional Earrings, Bracelets, and Necklaces by Scott David Plumlee
Chain and Bead Jewelry Creative Connections: New techniques for Wire-wrapping and Bead-setting by Scott David Plumlee
Picnicface’s Canada by Picnicface
The Rules With No Name by Bryan Ansell
Guerrilla Marketing Remix: The best of guerrilla marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson and Jeannie Levinson
Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Innovation by Pamela Glintenkamp
It’s not easy being green: and other things to consider/Jim Henson, the Muppets, and friends edited by Cheryl Henson

The Doctor and the Kid: A Weird West tale by Mike Resnick
Dirty Deeds: My life inside/outside of AC/DC by Mark Evans
The Buntline Special: A Weird West tale by Mike Resnick
Eat, Slay, Love by Jesse Petersen

The Old West: The End and the Myth by Time Life Books
Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete story of the Brady Bunch , Told by the Father/Son Team who Really Know by Sherwood Schwartz & Lloyd J Scwartz

Friday, May 4, 2012

Penny, ... penny, ...penny.

They are pressing the last pennies today.  

I still blame you.

Well, the blue party took the power from their majority win and went ahead and did it.  They have phased out part of our currency.  Granted, the pennies cost more to make then they are worth, but metal currency also lasts longer than paper currency - which is why they replaced our paper ones and twos with loonies and twonies (and why they are talking about doing the same to the five).  But most people kept socking them away in jars instead of actually using them.

 The old pennies will still be legal tender for years but they will no longer make any more new ones.  Pennies that are still in circulation can still be used.  Maybe this will get some of you to cash in some of the bowls and jars of pennies you are hording.  Purchases will be rounded off to the nearest penny for anyone paying by cash.  Payments by cheque, debit, or plastic will still be exact change.

I am so ashamed of our country for doing this.  I can't believe we let this happen.

Fair warning to you all.  The penny will remain on any scavenger hunt list I make for quite a while – so save at least one. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ogre Kickstarter - Canadian shipping listed!

With just under two weeks left, they have locked down the pricing for the shipping up to Canada.  Shipped to the States would be $100, shipped up to Canada would be $152.  It seems a bit high – but they softened it a bit by including the PDFs from the $30 level.  Plus with gas, it would almost cost that to make the trip down to the States to pick it up.

It’s going to be a big hit in duties.  Thankfully not as big as it could have been had it been a UPS solution but it will still be up there.  That will be future-David’s issue though.

Now I just have to get a prepaid card to make the payment.  That’s going to take a bit of work convincing the wife to allow me to temporarily use some of the set-aside money now and replace it over the next month or so.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Two Two-Faced coins acquired

I popped in to Giant Tiger again on the way home Monday and was able to pick up another Harvey Dent and two Two-Faces.   

These are from The Dark Knight movie.  Even though they both list accessories as scarred coin only the one with Two-Face is actually scarred.  The coin with Harvey Dent is a double-sided coin.

So now I have a pair of double-sided coins and a pair of scarred Two-Face coins.  I might repaint them as they look like plastic, but they have a great weight and both flip well.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Two-Faced coin

While out and about on the weekend, I picked up a Harvey Dent figure at Giant Tiger. They were blowing them out for $3. It had the Two-Face coin so I figured for that price I could live with a nice plastic one.

When I got it home and opened it I noticed two things:
First, that it was actually metal instead of plastic.
Secondly, the coin that came with the Harvey Dent figure was double-sided but not scarred.

So I need to pop back in on the way home and pick up at least another one and probably another pair on top of that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Hunger Games

We saw The Hunger Games. Shan had read the book but I haven’t yet. It was easy enough to pick up the plot and follow along. Jennifer Lawrence carries off the role of Katniss very well. She seems believable and likable enough. She seems to handle the bow believably.

Woody Harrelson pulls off the role of Hamish very well. He looks younger than he has recently and easily comes across as a bitter drunken survivor who gets sucked into believing in Katniss.

The Games itself are well handled. The CG is a bit odd in the environment – how do the creatures get created in a way that they can spring from the ground and still be able to interact? Aside from that, not much else seems odd or jarring. It really makes me think that they could easily do a Dream Park movie or series finally.

We didn’t take the kids with us. A lot of the violence was handled just off-camera but there were still a few scenes that might cause some of the younger ones some alarm.

We liked it. We look forward to the sequel and it will probably make me read the books. The arena costumes are simple enough for costuming and are even available online. It has also sparked a renewed interest in kids taking archery – which is always a good thing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

OGRE - Designer Edition - snubbed from Steve

Back in 1977 a young designer named Steve Jackson released a ‘minigame’ called OGRE through a company called Metagaming. It came in a zip-lock bag and dealt with a massive nuclear-powered tank attacking an army of tanks and soldiers. One side had infantry, tanks, GEVs, howitzers and the other side had one counter – the OGRE. It cost a mere $2.95.
Based on the strength of this game he created Steve Jackson Games and published many other games – including Car Wars, Illuminati, GURPS, and lately, Munchkin.
I got into OGRE with the 1982 SJG edition. I always liked it and have picked up many versions – including the computer game for my Apple IIc – which allowed you to play against the computer controlled Ogre.

Last year word came around about Steve wanted to do an Euro-style version of the game with bigger counters in a solid box for $100. I was definitely in for a version and signed up for info. Yesterday I got early word about a Kickstarter program where they were raising money to gauge interest in the new Designer Edition which would be released in November. They only sent this out to those who had signed up for Ogre info.
When I checked yesterday, they easily had reached their goal of $20,000. Today, they sent out the information to the masses in their Daily Illuminator email. When I checked this morning they were now at over $70,000. As I post this, they have currently reached over $95,000.

I would be in for this in a big way, but due to shipping and Kickstarter, they are only shipping these ones ordered through Kickstarter to addresses in the US. Unless I want to pledge almost $3000, in which case they will ship three copies anywhere in addition to some cool goodies. Sadly, unless I hit the lotto before May 11 I will not be able to get one.

I might still get in for some extra dice or pins just to show my support for the project, but this feels like a bit of a kick in the chest Steve for those of us across the border. I'm going to have to see if I can get it from one of the local games stores (because I still want one) but would have been all over this if I could have.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Darths & Droids - a New Hope

Those of you who have been following along with the Darths and Droids comic strip already know that they have moved on to the First film - A New Hope.

For those of you who haven’t been following, it is a good time to jump in.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

John Carter

For his birthday, we took the boy to the movies and to dinner. We saw John Carter and then went to Montana’s where he got to wear the horns.

A lot of people seem down on John Carter but we enjoyed it. Even my daughter, who had been concerned it might be a bit scary, liked it. There has been some minor controversy about the title – it was Princess of Mars like the book but was changed to not confuse people (who hadn’t seen the trailer or know about the books) about it being another Disney Princess film.

Since it was based on a series of books that was written almost a century ago (Princess of Mars was published in 1917) you would think that it might be a bit dated, but it held up quite well. Since it had influenced a lot of later works, some parts seem familiar, but not too much that it seems like a copy. They even kept the framing sequence with the author and the matter transference into an avatar on the other planet. The green Martians look fine – maybe a bit long in the tusk but they get the six-limbed look down fine.

I haven’t managed to read the books yet so I don’t know how they describe the landscape but I would have expected the sand to be more red. I also don’t know how they handled the jumping in the books but it seemed on the verge of being a bit excessive in the movie.

All-in-all, it was a fun science-fiction film that fits in well with the modern ones. I hope it does well enough to make the sequels. I’m going to have to make an effort to read the originals.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The passing of an artist who drew dreams

On Mar 3 2012, at the age of 82, another icon slipped away from us. Ralph McQuarrie was a technical illustrator who worked on animating CBS’s coverage of the Apollo space program. He helped to make George Lucas’ vision of a space serial understandable to a lot of people who couldn’t follow what George wanted to do. His images form the backbone of the entire Star Wars saga, as well as many other movies from our youth – ET, Cocoon, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park, as well as Battlestar Galactica.

I never had the chance to meet him but always felt an affinity towards him – having taking drafting and art. He set a high mark to strive for.
The world is a little more empty due to his passing. His impact while he was here touched so many of us in so many ways that you would have thought that his passing would have been a major news item.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Heroclix - Fast Forces

Since NECA has taken over Heroclix, they have made a lot of new sets. They have also made some Gravity Feeds – which are mini sets consisting of single-figure boxes for a few of their releases. They have also made some ‘Fast Forces’ sets which consist of a clamshell containing about 8 figures and a map. Since I love the maps, I’m trying to make sure I get the Fast Forces sets while I can even if I’m not getting the regular sets (yet).

For Christmas, I got the Warriors of Asgard (from Hammer of Thor) and the Battle for Smallville (from Superman). When I tried to get the two sets in between, the local store to us no longer had any. Since Galaxy had let me down, I tried Pendragon Games and Comic Factory IV but they didn’t have the missing sets either.
Before trying online, I gave Maxx Collectibles a call and they did have one of the sets. Since I would have to travel to the other end of the city, I also called face-Off Sportscards. They had both sets in stock so I popped over to see them on the way home and picked up Crimebusters! (from Watchmen) and Green Lantern Corps (from the Green Lantern gravity feed).

So the only one that I am now missing is the newest one Smash! (from the Incredible Hulk set). I’ll probably pick that one up this weekend.
I’m also looking into picking up a few figures from the Gravity Feeds – depending on whether the random factor outweighs the online cost of buying the figures individually.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Figure painting total - January

The last bits of my Kroot finally showed up. Also, I picked up 2 Western sets in the
Buck or Two store for $1.50 each. They each came with a wagon, 2 horses, and 6 figures.

40K Kroot Carnivores (in bits) - 12
40K Raveners (in bits) – 3
2 sets Western Wagons and figures - 22
Dreadfleet – Windgauge and Ships’ Wheel – 3
Dreadfleet – Navigation Rod Ruler – 1
Dreadfleet – Treasure tokens - 5

Jan figures bought – 46, figures painted – 0
Running total 2012 – figures bought 46, figures painted 0

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Compass acquired

I had tried to make the bases for the Grid Games – Disc Battle but all the compasses I could find wouldn’t hold a consistent measurement. It later occurred to me that I could probably use one of the 40K templates for the 4” diameter and the 2” diameter.

But I still ended up popping in to Staples and picked up a nice new compass.

So now I can use that to make templates out of card and then trace those on to the black poster paper that I want to use for the grid and counters.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wendy's Chili

I was off last week. I didn’t have any major plans but still didn’t manage to get a lot done. I was able to make a batch of chili on Friday.
I’ve tried a few recipes before but I really like the Wendy’s chili recipe from Todd Wilbur of Top Secret Recipes.

I highly recommend his Top Secret line of books. They have a bunch of recipes to make clones of various restaurant and branded snacks and drinks. I use his Outback Blooming Onion recipe whenever I can.

The chili is simple to make but I always have to modify it due the metric can sizes available up here.

2 pounds ground beef (~1kg)
29 oz tomato sauce (~900mL)
29 oz kidney beans in liquid (~900mL)
29 oz pinto beans in liquid (~900 mL)
1 cup diced onion (1 medium onion)
1/2 cup diced green chili (2 chilies)
1/4 cup diced celery (1 stalk)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin powder
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water

- Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat; drain off the fat.

- Using a fork, crumble the cooked beef into pea-sized pieces.

- In a large pot pot, combine the beef plus all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 2 to 3 hours.

Makes about 12 servings.

For less spicy chili change the pepper to 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper.
For much spicier chili add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper. For a real stomach stinger, add 5 or 6 sliced jalapeno peppers to the pot. Leftovers can be frozen for several months.

Gee and Shan don’t eat that much so it’s mainly for me – and D3 eats a bit too.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Furry addition to family

Gee had wanted a dog for about a year now. We had been putting it off until after the renovations but since that doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon, we told her we would get her one for her birthday. So we had popped into the Humane Society to check out our options.

Gee had been keeping a close eye on their website to see what they had available but they were very cute in person. We found a nice dog, Princess, that was adorable. But when we went to see about her, we found that she was a little too enthusiastic for D3.

When we went back after boxing day, we found an older dog that looked a lot like Princess but was a lot more docile. She was a sweetie and we decided to adopt her. (We also found out that Princess was finally getting adopted that day!)
When we filled out the forms and went to pay for her though, someone came up and told us that someone had come in before Christmas and paid for her. At first we thought that they meant that someone had already bought her – but they meant that someone had come in and prepaid for her adoption to whoever chose her.

We were very touched and want to thank our mysterious benefactor.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A maritime flower puts down roots in prairie soil

It’s hard to believe that’s it’s only been a week since Shan’s mom passed away. She had been in the hospital for a little over a week following stomach cancer surgery and it had been looking like she was making a good recovery. She had progressed to solid foods and was walking around. She seemed to be almost back to her old self even though it still hurt to laugh.

She had an infection but was being treated for it. Shan’s sister had come in for the week and had left on the Friday. We had seen her on the Sunday and she was doing well. The infection had delayed her release but she was expected to be out by the end of the next week.
Then we got the call on Tuesday that she had been sick and they took her in to surgery and that the family should come see her. She did well in surgery and she was expected to recover well. Instead of being out that week, they then expected to hold on to her until the end of the month for recovery.
However, we got another call that night saying that she had taken a turn for the worse. It looked grim. Another surgery was done early Wednesday morning. She had not been expected to survive this surgery, but she did. Again, it was looking promising but she was still expected to be out for the day and we were sent home to get some rest.
We got a call from the hospital at 8 recommending that we come in to see her that morning by 10. Then we got another call telling us to come in right away. We got there and her organs were shutting down. They took her off the life support and she died shortly afterwards.

She was a great lady. I remember her as having a good sense of humor and being quite ‘crafty’. She helped with the costumes we made, and also made photo collages of the families. She was always skinny and had lost even more weight this last year. She had suffered a stroke a few years ago and still hadn’t fully recovered.

The kids will deeply miss the time they used to spend with her during spring break and during the summer. I will miss her deeply. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for Shan or her dad. We were over at their house last week to help clear up matters – it was easier as they had preplanned a lot of it but it was still hard to go through things. In going through her computer files, she had been working on a book of her life and memories - up to about 2005 - the title is above.

We will miss her dearly. Words cannot properly express the loss we feel.

Monday, January 9, 2012

2011 Figure buying total

40K Battlewagon (in bits) – 1
40K Carnifex (in bits) – 1
40K Raveners (in bits) – 3
40K Tyranid Warriors (in bits) – 9
40K Trygon/Mawloc (in bits) – 1
40K Gargoyles - 10
Dr Who - Daleks - 51
Dr Who - Cybermen - 16
Dr Who - 16 Judoon - 16
7 sets Farm Animals (1/35 scale) - 84
40K Carnifex (in bits) – 1
40K Hormagaunts (in bits) – 16
40K Tau Devilfish - 1
Arcane Legions – starter – 120
Arcane Legions – Roman infantry pack – 40
Arcane Legions – Egyptian infantry pack – 40
Arcane Legions – Han infantry pack – 40
Arcane Legions – Roman Cavalry – 14
Arcane Legions – Egyptian Cavalry – 15
Arcane Legions – Han Cavalry – 15
Dreadfleet – 42
Running total 2011 – figures bought 536, figures painted 0

So far, I still have yet to complete painting any figures although I have come close. I’ve done a bunch of work on the western figures but I haven’t finished the bases so I can’t count them yet. This should be my last year without anything in the painting column.

We will see.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Books read Sept - Dec 2011

Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative: principles and practices from the legendary cartoonist – by Will Eisner
The Complete Making of Indiana Jones: The Definitive Story Behind all Four Films by J. W. Rinzler

The Costume Designer’s Handbook by Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Electronics 101 by Sean Westcott and Jean Riescher Westcott
Steel and other Stories by Richard Matheson

Crimson Skies: Rogue Flyer: Wings of Justice: Book 1 by Loren L. Coleman
Artemis Fowl – The Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer
Chainmail Jewelry – Contemporary Designs from Classic Techniques by Terry Taylor & Dylon White
Handcrafting Chain and Bead Jewelry – Techniques for Creating Dimensional Necklaces and Bracelets by Scott David Plumlee
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
Stan Lee’s How to Write Comics by Stan Lee
Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse – Cataclysmic Battles in the 41st Millennium by Games Workshop (Jervis Johnson?)
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

The Making of Star Wars – The Definitive Story behind the Original Film by J.W. Rinzler
Creating the Worlds of Star Wars 365 Days by John Knoll
The People of Red River – A Costume Guide by Barry and Judy McPherson