Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Water Water Everywhere.... and not a drop to drink

Well... not yet

But its coming. Fargo Moorhead is looking to get a flood to rival the 97 flood. Crest is slated at something around 41 feet. Which... is a LOT of water. I don't think I'll be under water, but a lot of people I know are in danger of it. So this week's been a lot of trying to balance work with buckling down to help friends where I can.

The river is currently gaining about a foot every 4 hours (we're at 34 feet or so as of this posting) and should crest somewhere around Friday.

So, if I'm hard to get ahold of, for you folks that are wondering...

Thats probably why.

I wonder how much work it would be to weld some pontoons to my pickup...

Just kidding! (at least about the pontoons)

-Jon

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Of Waterbased Paint and Plastic Men

It seems to me that every hobby I have is expensive. And I have a fair number of hobbies. My latest addition is a Warhammer 40k army. Once apon a time I tried painting up an Empire army for Warhammer Fantasy, but I just didn't have the patience for THAT many models.

Few years later, I'm finally swayed back into giving it a roll, and my Aleran Legion Chapter of Space Marines was born. By far painting Space Marines is much, much less onerous then painting a more numerous model army. This is something I can stomache, thirty or forty models making up a decent point cost army, as opposed to double or triple that number.

They're also a fairly robust army in game terms, so they should be fun to field. My standard color scheme is Blue and grey, with grey being the primary base color and Blue being the secondary color, which is primarily on the pauldrons/shoulder guards. Since every army needs to be painted in at least three colors, my third color is the Company color.

Codex Astartes Space Marine chapters have Ten Companys of a Hundred Marines a piece. The first Company is called the Veteran company, and almost never fights as a unit, instead offering its services piecemeal to the other Companys. My Aleran Legion Chapter is based on the colors, and some ripped off history from the Codex of Alera books by Jim Butcher. They have nothing to do with Warhammer, but a Company of Space marines known as the Battle Crows sounded cool.

So, my Battle Crows are the First Company of the Aleran Legion chapter. As the first company, thier color *should* be white, according to Codex. But these are MY Space Marines, and so their company color is RED. If I ever get around to creating the other companys (Besides the Scout company) the double headed eagles on their armour will be the company color. But in the backstory of the "Battle Crows" thier leader was once struck by a magical lightening bolt (in my armys case, a Psybolt) while holding the company standard. It was unscathed, except for the eagle, which turned Black. Hense, all eagles in the first company, are Black. Making them the Battle Crows.

So far, everything's been turning out really well. I've got two Tactical Squads, a Captain (who I don't like and will be replacing) a five man Devistator squad, what will be a ten man Scout squad lead by a Sargent Telion miniature, one Dreadnought and a five man Terminator squad. All in all, plenty of firepower. I'd also like a five or ten man squad of Vanguard Veterans to round out my various troop type choices.

So far the two Tac squads and the Captain are almost done, which means I'll be playable within the rules. My first half of the scout squad is coming along, and I've started putting paint on the Dreadnought and Terminators.

The more I've done, the steadier my hand has gotten, and while I'll never paint at 'eavy Metal standards, I'm still pretty proud of my ability to put paint where I want it.

Now I just want to get a game started :)

-Jon

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Random Rambles on Writing

I've been bouncing around the blogosphere to some of my less read blogs that I really should drop onto my blogroll so they become more read blogs.

But, I'm lazy and don't feel like updating right now. I will eventually get to it.

Specifically I've been reading about writing, from... well other writers. I don't really consider blogging writing, although it is - for me its mostly a stream of conciousness thing, and thusly isn't in the same realm as writing.

I don't spend a lot of time researching posts, or coming up with pithy commentary to news articles. I just write whats on my mind, be it a rant, something cool I found, or just decompressing my skull.

I also do some co-operative writing, which I've talked about before... and when I get the bug, I sit down and write fiction. These things are things that are usually wholely mine, and I've admittedly never finished a one of them. I've gotten close occasionally.

The primary issue with why they never get 'finished' is that sometimes an idea strikes me, and I *have* to write it. So I do, or, I go until the train gets derailed by people talking to me, or the idea is on paper, even if the story it could be is not finished... or whatever. A great example of this was a fanfiction I started for the Dresden files at least 3 or 4 years ago. I was sitting in a Denny's watching a trio of asian youths out way too late on a school night (I seldom go to Denny's before Midnight) hassling their waitress.

I got the idea to turn it into a Harry Dresden oneshot. Just a little stream of conciousness bit... that grew exponetially as I poked at it until finally it was almost the start of a short story. Except... I didn't really have a story.

Just a one off... that had gotten a bit too big for its britches.

Such is the way my brain works. I've been working on a story that takes a ShadowRun campaign of three long years and turns it into something we can look back and read. The fact of the matter is I've been working on it for almost as long as the campaign ran at this point. It will in all likelyhood never be finished. But, I'll keep poking at it when the mood hits.

Its how I do my solo writing. In spurts. Some of them are pretty long, a day or three. Sometimes they last ten minutes. I can't control them when they happen, all I can do is use them. Sometimes the products are pretty good and I'm proud of the product. Such as my unfinished, but actiony Blood and Water bit. Some of it... not so much. I keep everything. I like going back and reading stuff I wrote and seeing where I used to be weak and how my writing is evolving. I've even got some really old stuff, back from my teenage years and first college try... boy some of that is... crap. It was a start. Some people even liked it. But it was crap.

Now... now I'm an ok writer. Its been a long road to get here. I can write decent fan fiction (which, is probably saying something, but not much) I'll likely never write a novel - most of my stuff will be mostly for myself, save my co-op writing - but *I* get a kick out of it, and when I can I enjoy sharing... so I guess thats all that should matter.

-Jon

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gee, thanks Mr President

So, the DOW has tanked... again. This is becoming habitual. I haven't looked at my 401K since sometime in August, and I won't, except I'm considering at least diversifying a bit into Bonds or Gold or something.

I haven't made a decision there. But for the moment I'm loooking at my 401k as a long run proposition so I'm basically going to let it ride.

But I really need to thank Barak Obama for the great economy he's fostering right now. Since for the first time in the FOUR years I've worked here, I'm not going to get a raise of any type. We got the email the other day. No Merit increases this year.

They put them off til April, and now they're out and out canceling it. My 3 to 5 percent increase isn't much, compared to what I got my first couple years in this job - but now where's my inclination to get up and do a better then average job to hopefully get my merit increase hm?

I was really looking for that increase to offset my pay LOSS to going to days.

Thanks a lot, Mr President - you've sure helped this middle class worker out a huge amount.

-Jon