Upping the nerd level

Having a second kid is not quite the mega-shock as the first one, but it doesn’t leave any time for anything at all.  Given my 2 hours per day during my paternity that I’m not chasing after a 2 year old,  I didn’t have  a lot of time at all to read or do anything but sleep, and basically went insane about 4 days ago, pretty much right according to plan.    That said, I busted out some Foundry Old West miniatures that had been sitting on my painting table for well over a year as a means, in half hour stints, to do something other than housework and child-care.  As frustrating and tedious the hobby of painting small toy soldiers is, it really is a relaxing way to span productive time.  You sit, look out a window for a little while, lay some paint, look at it, mix up some blends, look out the window, etc.  Most of my work life is collaborative work, essentially getting other people to actually talk to each other to collaborate, and so working on a project all alone with a tangible, physical result (not a UT3 level or web page) is a bonus to the relaxation.  Oh, yeah, now with 16 Old West miniatures complete as of today, I might actually be able to rope some people in to playing–that is if I can find some terrain.

Here are some shots of the figs.  For my true 28 and 25mm miniatures, I have been entirely influenced by Kevin Dallimore’s 3-color layering method.  I don’t recommend this on the giant 32mm (Games Workshop/ Rackham) at all, but for 25-28MM it is an awesome and effective approach as well as being forgiving if your eyes are not what they used to be.

The Town Drunk
With every batch of miniatures (I usually work on 3-5 at a time) there is one that I don’t spend much time on– just throw paint on and see what happens.  I thought the town drunk would be the one in this group, but it undoubtably was not– I love this model– the face has oodles of Marx bro’s character to it and the stance is just plain silly.  I made the suit all one color– I wanted him to seem very dirty but with some fine clothes on–turned out fairly well.

The Kid
This one is another great stance and face.  I made the mistake of making his hat and cravat green, and his suspenders red at first–and then I dubbed him the Xmas kid–I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made the mistake of combining those two colors.  I changed the hat to black and that solved it.

The Apache
This dude is the badass of the set and I spent the most time on him for sure.  Worked on the pearl handle for his pistol and really worked the flesh in the face to get that scar to show.  All and all a great model to paint.

The Whore
This was a fixed up paint job as I fucking DROPPED the model a few years ago and haven’t really painted since. Getting this one to look nice and get the base redone was key.  I think she turned out pretty well.  Proportionally though, 25-28mm scale doesn’t do well with the female form…

My wife mentioned that she would put miniature gamers lower on the nerd scale than even LARP’ers.

America!

I have to say, except for about 3-4 fouls Ghana flagrantly committed that weren’t called, and the typical Third World ‘throwing themselves on the pitch and bringing out the stretcher,’ the game was very good.  The USA simply got outplayed and didn’t get lucky with any of their shots on goal.  If I could critique the play of our side, I’d say that the mid-game long-balling was simply a waste of time by the goalie and the defenders.  Time and time again the ball was simply handed back to the Ghana side after a long ball, and with very few set ups of worth coming from the defense to the midfield, this was a recipe for disaster as the score sheet shows.   Looking at Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Argentina and Brazil it’s almost as if they are playing a different game than the US team is still, but the US is getting there.

All in all this USA team is by far the best we’ve had and they looked fantastic in most of the games. They’re no longer afraid of the pace, nor the competition at this level.  All of them go all out and nothing like what happened the last time Ghana and USA met where the team captain stayed on the ground ‘injured’ after the ball was stolen from him while flat footed and a goal was scored happened in any of the games.

Two Worlds, One Cup day 2

The USA vs England game went as well as could be expected from the American point of view.  If you count both goals as being sort of flukes, it evens out a bit.  The US goal was on target and you just can’t expect every one of those to get picked up.  Howard for the US was nothing short of amazing during the middle of the second half: especially shaking off a kick to the ribs that left him sprawled on the pitch for a few minutes.  Rooney was again shut down by Howard, and I think he should just give up and not play in games that Howard is in.    Sensless let me know that England was ranked No 3 right now and I was really shocked– we can trust that as good as England looks on paper, they always choke in the big tournaments.  This is their curse for inventing the game.

The other games I saw showed a lot of mediocre play.  South Korea ran a clinic on Greece and France, known for squeaking by with sub-optimal play until the tournament portion, just didn’t have what it took to really even make Uruguay sweat as they should have defensively.

As much as I love soccer, I have been absolutely enthralled with this video of beatings called in a game I’d never even heard of: Australian Rules Football.

Two Worlds, One Cup

Europe and South America, separated by a vast ocean coming together to see who is better at England’s game. Spain is looking good as usual from Europe, Argentina seems to be the favorite overall at the moment, but I have Spain/Brasil picked in the final on my bracket with the proponents of the beautiful game FTW (that would be Brazil). However, I love the current Spanish style of play and would love for them to go all the way. Teams that may shake up the standard teams in the final for in my humble opinion would be USA, South Korea, Ghana, Greece and because it’s home turf, South Africa cannot be discounted.

Parent's basement finds

While the amount of stuff in my own basement that I’ve lost track of continuously grows, the amount of stuff in my parent’s basements diminish by the year as they pawn off boxes and furniture with random drawers filled with gaming erm… jewels.  This weekend I ransacked my dad’s basement and here is what I dragged out of darkness.

Swords and Spells

While I’m a big fan of the D&D as the wellspring from which most gaming today flowed, the game itself has a history of pretty terrible rules, many of which exist in the nether realms of these small books from back when I was in kindergarten. This little book could be the very reason Games Workshop decided to make Warhammer Fantasy Battle back in the day as the rules are really just that bad: and to think, I actually played this as part of some early 80’s D&D campaigns.  This will probably sit in my basement shitter for a month or so and then get put away along with all the other old D&D stuff.

Ah Paranoia–an RPG with near 100% death rate for the Player Characters during any given SESSION, let alone a campaign. Sure sure, there were 6 clones of the PC’s each, but that basically meant that no campaign could go more than 6 sessions for fear of the entire cadre of characters being wiped out. It was fun and a refreshing change from dungeon crawling or being driven insane by elder things back in Jr. High, and this is certainly the best edition. Like many of my boxed games hidden away in dark recess of my basements, this came with some extras. In the bottom of the box looks to be the complete chit-set from the Ogre influenced Battlesuit game as well as a mess of stand up cardboard armies from Steve Jackson.  I’m assuming they were used to represent the characters during their ill-fated adventures.

The reason for my delve into the dank basement over the weekend was to search for a copy of the original Squad Leader, which I remember seeing in someone’s attic/basement/shelf back in the 80’s. While Panzer Leader is really not what I was looking for, I grabbed it anyway. It had a touch of mould on the box, but everything else looked great for it’s age and the counters are surprisingly high quality compared to today’s games. In addition, the extras include a chrome-plastic Transformers weapon, a few cavalry figures from THIS comic book ad, a staff from one of the lava dudes from Crystar the Crystal Warrior, a mess of counters for some Napoleonic SPI game and what looks to be the Dark Tower dragon (with his base broken off).

All in all, some great and terrible finds.  Sadly I could do the same sort of crap hunt in my own basement and be just as surprised.

The end of the greatest blog in human history

I asked a friend many moons ago what the best web-navigation was and he immediately said: “A small picture of a hot chick that leads to a big picture of a hot chick.”  This is an eternal truth that I have used in client meetings, internal design reviews and user experience discussions ever since, going as far as asking a client: what is YOUR hot chick?  That said, there was one blog out there that I just stumbled across one afternoon that is the absolute essence of this statement: because that’s ALL it is.  After 5 years, the man responsible decided to call it quits, or, at least that’s what google translation tells me since it’s entirely in Japanese. Sad.