Archive for October, 2013|Monthly archive page

Fourth Edition Me

I know, I know, given my dislike for a certain edition of a certain game the title of this entry comes of as ironic or cliche, but whatever, I’m taking it.

I was going to do this last week, but life is what happens when you make plans, to quote John Lennon. Events leading into Upgrade Day were going smoothly — dinner with Mom & Step Dad, dinner and a movie with Dad.*

And then last Monday I rear ended someone on the drive home. Hard. Fortunately no one was hurt, although the impact did some damage to my car that’ll keep it in the shop for a week, maybe two. Insurance is a good thing to have these days, and while I’m not hurting in the literal or fiscal sense, the accident did send me through a wonky mix of emotions for the rest of the week.  Didn’t help that this past Saturday was my test for Shodan rank in my dojo. I passed the test, but talk about being a bundle of nerves.

With all that going on, turning forty was the least of my problems.

Strange as it may sound the past week put a LOT of things into perspective. Life is never in your favor, even when everything comes up Millhouse. Even when you’re alert to your surroundings, a split second can change things. It can be very frail, even when it looks to be strong for all intents and purposes. That doesn’t always prevent wonderful things from happening, but sometimes we stop ourselves from enjoying things — or achieving them — out of fear.

Forty is often seen as one of those “turning point” ages, where some people see it as an apex of their existence.** To apply the phrase “downhill from here” is a sign of degradation. When I look at my Father, who is 67 and has only felt that age for one brief passing moment, I call bullshit on that line of thinking. The genetic lottery has been good to me, even with phrases like “cancer” or “cogenital heart defect” occurring in the same sentence as “family medical history.” Both parents contributed to my intelligence and creativity, and I got a nice mix of good looks from both sides of the family. I managed to dodge male pattern baldness while getting the lean and strong physique from my Mom’s side of the family tree+. While I have my Father’s eyes++, I also snagged the ability to keep some semblance of youth. Seriously, Dad doesn’t look to be in his sixties, and a few folks thought I was in my late 20s.

Let’s not forget the fact that I spent the past ten months getting into shape and training my ass off at my old dojo. Over the hill? I say I’m just getting started scaling the mountain.

I’m not exactly stupid about this, however. I’m aware of my mortality — and a universe conspiring to kill me — due to the death of one of my best friends last year, and let’s face it, my parents are in their sixties now. Time marches on.

However, I think the past year has been a big step forward in my life. I’m doing what I love, both professionally and personally. I’ve in the best shape I’ve ever been in, and while I’m single, I’m not lonely. I could live in dread of the time I have left, or I could look to the future as untapped potential. I choose the latter, preferring to step, dance, shuffle, boogie or slide one pace ahead of Death. He’ll catch up to me one day, but my plan is get him worn out by then because when that day comes, it’s gonna be one hell of a fight scene.

Until then though, I just keep moving, doing, being and living. Fear? I’ll face it. Regrets? Never again.

Death?

Not today.

 

*We saw Gravity. Great film. Loved the thrill ride.

** Fifty, so I’m told, is the official “over the hill” milestone, but I’ve seen forty treated the same way.

+ A facet I began rediscovering since January 2013.

++ Cogan’s Dystrophy sucks moose cock, but I did get the ability to stare down people while in a darkened movie theater.

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Painting Small Things

I don’t blog much about painting minis here (typically that goes to my Tumblr site), but I thought I’d delve a little into it tonight before getting back into a project.

I love D&D and wargaming, catching the bugs from both my Dad and my StepDad. Dad was particularly keen on historical wargaming, despite having terrible luck with dice at times and even going so far as to getting Napoleon shot at Waterloo. Yes, he was playing the French at the time. I can’t really laugh at that too much because when I play my Bretonnians (Warhammer), my Grail Knights — elite warriors they are — couldn’t hit a damn barn let alone the broadside for the longest time.

Playing is fun, but so is the painting. I know three people who do this sort of thing to pay the bills, and while I could hand them money and the surplus of figurines I have, I enjoy the work too much. The only exception I ever made was my Green Knight for the ill-fated Bretonnians, because at the time I didn’t have the acumen to get the coloring right. Red-green color blindness sucks sometimes.

I’ve gotten better since then, thanks to a tool called the Power Palette. It allows me to take an image and identify the closest colors that comprise it. Naturally, the colors are all from Reaper’s line of paints, but I’m good with that. In fact, it’s one of the things that’s made me quite loyal to that brand. However, after giving a good deal of money to not one but two Kickstarters I find myself with a lot of work ahead of me. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve been putting together an inventory spreadsheet of what I have with breakdowns by race (for PCs), creature type (for NPCs) and army (for Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000). Plus there’s a separate page for terrain and scenery, and one tab called “The Bin” which is where I have a shit-ton of single figure blister packs.

As intimidating as it can be, it’s helped me to organize, set goals and figure out what I work on next. It may seem a bit compulsive to do it this way, but when you’re sitting on hundreds of inch high figurines amongst the dragons, demons and even an eight-inch tall Cthulhu, you gotta do something to keep track.

Right now my queue has the following:

* Four goblin huts (the current work in progress)

* A set of walls and fences (nine pieces there)

* Two Men-At-Arms (once a pack of three, but one got modified and painted for a D&D character)

* 25 Elves for D&D (8 are metal, 17 are from the new Bones line of plastic figs from Reaper and include 5 Dark Elves)

* 10 “old school” Foot Knights from Grenadier (Closer to true 25mm scale than the larger figures seen today)

* 44 plastic Norman Infantry

* 48 plastic 12/13th century Foot Sergeants (possibly Teutonic)

* One big stonkin’ army of Skaven (I’ll get the numbers for those later).

I don’t expect to get to the far end of the queue by the end of the year, even if I keep a good pace. At a rough estimate, it takes me about an hour to paint one “man-sized” figure, so I’ve got about 140 hours worth of work before I even get to the Skaven. That’s just painting — that doesn’t take into account the time spent assembling, cleaning and priming the figures. Fortunately I’ve taken a cue from the pros I know and developed an “assembly line” method of doing things. Still, I got a lot of work ahead of me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna get to it.