The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Grammar Libertarians Unite!

Posted By on September 20, 2014

http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/09/19/grammar-libertarians-unite/

I’m totally on board with this. Go Larry.

Catching up

Posted By on September 14, 2014

So, yeah, August came and went.

Liz was gone for a couple of weeks, hunting Dall’s sheep above the arctic circle in Alaska with her dad. It was the trip he’s always wanted to take, and it was the experience of a lifetime for the two of them to share.

Meanwhile, I got to spend the two weeks with the boys, which is great because I don’t get to spend days with them like Liz does. So, my boys and I hung out, I cleaned up around the house, read them some books, we laughed, giggled, rolled around on the floor, it was grand.

For the second week, my mother came to visit, and we visited Professor Bond’s Emporium. It’s a cool shop in a neat old mill, I hope it sticks around. The website is a bit out of date. If you’re interested, you’d need to pop in to the store or call to see who is playing what when. They have a good inventory of Magic cards and assorted board games, with some Warmachine and RPG books.

Anyway, I picked up Betrayal at House on the Hill and X-Wing. Both are quite good.

X-Wing uses the best preplotted movement system I’ve seen (if you’re in to that sort of thing), which apparently as licensed by WizKids for use in their Attack Wing game. Otherwise, it’s just a cool, fun dogfighting game. I think the system would be great for a reboot of the old Crimson Skies boardgame.

Betrayal is interesting. Basically, you and the other players cooperate in exploring a haunted house, which is different each time you play because it’s made from randomly drawn tiles. As you explore the house, there are events that happen to you, items you find, and omens, which often work like items, except that as there are more omens revealed, the more likely it is that the haunt starts. Once the haunt starts, you look up in a book of 50 different haunts which one you’re playing (based on the omen and room combination), and that tells you who the traitor is. The traitor then tries to complete some objective (typically killing the other players by some means) and the remaining players try to complete their objective and survive. So, there is a tremendous amount of replayability in this game.

While my mother was here, we watched a lot of YouTube videos from The Painting Clinic, which got me thinking again about getting an airbrush for miniatures. Since Liz is going back to work, I figured I had a little bit of pocket money. The missing piece to this when I last looked at getting one several years ago was a spray booth – they were either expensive or took up a lot of space when I wasn’t using them. So, anyway, I found:

  • portable airbrush booth
  • A cheap airbrush kit (Okay, so this wasn’t the kit I got, but it was the kit I should have gotten, because the compressor has a tank, and there is a quick disconnect fitting, and it has an airbrush holder. I ended up getting a lesser one, and buying the other things separately – it saved me some money while I was experimenting, but I’ll likely have to buy a new compressor with tank, etc. So, I should have just bought this, it would have been cheaper in the long run).
  • After some experimenting, I got a second airbrush.

The idea here is that I use one airbrush with the 0.5mm needle for thick stuff (mainly gesso, which I use as a primer) and the other with the 0.3mm needle with thin stuff (namely thinned Vallejo acrylic paints).

What I’ve found is:

  • Primer – 0.5mm airbrush, 1:1 gesso to glass and tile medium. This flows fine, though tends to gack up the airbrush, so I throw it all in the ultrasonic cleaner every time I use it. I do wish the spray was broader, but it works, and I only need to spray one coat (when I brushed it on, for some reason, it always took 2).
  • Paint – 0.3mm airbrush, 2:1 Vallejo to my standard thinner (3 parts distilled water, 1 part flow aid). This works great for general painting, though this spray can actually get broad, which is nice for basecoating.
  • My old crappy craft paints don’t work well through the brush, mainly because they’re a little chunky and tend to jam up the brush. That said, I don’t know if it’s the quality of the paint or the age of the paint – they’re *really* old.

So, that’s what I’m experimenting with and what I’ve figured out so far. I’ll post pictures once I have something that’s actually more than just primed. I’m working on planets and asteroids for space games, some resin Victorian buildings for Dystopian Wars, and a Warmachine gun carriage (which right now just looks like a big red box – but it takes me about 15 minutes to spray a coat, whereas brushing would take me like an hour, and it takes 5 coats to get the color right).

Aaanyway… it’s bedtime.

Updated pics of the boys

Posted By on September 14, 2014

I’ve updated the gallery of the boys with some pictures from August. Since I ended up taking them on several different cameras, and it sort by name and doesn’t seem to allow you to change that. *shrug*.

Updated software

Posted By on August 7, 2014

I’ve updated Owncloud (the thing which hosts the galleries and video) and WordPress (the thing which hosts this blog). If anything is busted or doesn’t work, drop me an email or comment here.

Swim time…

Posted By on August 3, 2014

Liz bought the boys an inflatable pool doodad:

Pool thingy

Pool thingy

It’s pretty cool – you need a compressor to inflate it, and you leave it hooked up to the hose and it sprays water all over, but it’s loads fancier than the injected molded plastic thingies that we used to have when we were kids. There’s a upper pool, a lower pool, and a slide connecting them, which is pretty awesome.

The boys seem okay with it:

Miles

Miles

Max

Max

Gaming table update

Posted By on August 3, 2014

For fathers’ day, Liz got me printed maps for my table, to replace the ones I made up myself last year. These are large format single prints, rather than US letter size taped together. So, you don’t have any tape lines, and there’s no repetition, which is nice. Much more aesthetically pleasing.

It took me so long to get them on the table, because I had a demo game of Alpha Strike set up from before the boys were born, which Liz and I finally got a chance to play on my birthday. While she liked the aesthetic of Battletech, the classic rules are tremendously in depth which means that it’s a bit complex for a casual game. You need to know how every weapon and bit of gear works, and you need to be quick on the dice and quick on filling in the dots (and there are so many dots to fill in, I’ve heard people say that it reminds them of taking standardized tests). If you do not, it takes FOREVER. Like, I’ve had games where each person has 2 mechs and it takes 2 hours to play – which is about all the time one can expect to have on a weeknight. Alpha Strike is loads better – Liz and I played a game with 2 mechs per side, including my explaining the rules, and it took us half an hour. She says that she still prefers Warmachine, but that this is loads better than classic BattleTech.

Anyway, table pics.

Water map

Water map

Space map

Space map

Both Maps

Both Maps

Home improvement

Posted By on August 3, 2014

So, Liz redecorated the upstairs bathroom, which will be used by the boys as they grow up.

She says that there is a subtle theme… I’m not certain that I see it.

Upstairs bathroom

Upstairs bathroom

Upstairs bathroom

Upstairs bathroom

A few more pics

Posted By on August 3, 2014

Not a whole lot more pics of the boys this month, but we did take a few.

Updated the gallery, remember, the newest are at the bottom.

But, I am watching the boys today, and they’re napping and I’m watching TableTop, so I figured I’d update… I have a couple more posts to write up, at least for as long as they’re sleeping.

Updated the pics of the boys

Posted By on July 10, 2014

Updated the gallery with pics of the boys, so they’re now up to and including the 4th, and the boys meeting their great grandmother on the 5th.

(Remember, the newest are at the bottom.)

Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall

Posted By on June 26, 2014

So, I’ve been dark because I’ve been using my free time to play through this. Excellent scenario. Every time I thought I was about to be finished, there was another turn in the road. It had very much of a classic Shadowrun feel of not knowing whom to trust, and had a lot of ethical dilemmas.

I won’t go in to the spoilers, but it’s currently on sale on steam, and is well worth the $7.50 for the base game and $9 for Dragonfall expansion. This means you’d get to play through the base adventure Dead Man’s Switch (which felt short and left me wanting more) and Dragonfall was of a pleasant length and depth.

There is also a lot of fan created content, of varying quality. I played a bit of one, but then my brother got me X-Com: Enemy Unknown (which, BTW is now apparently available for Linux too), and that distracted me. So, it has a decent amount of new content to keep it playable. Oh, and it’s available for Linux as well. More games on Linux makes me a happy boy.

Anyway, despite getting the Wasteland 2 and Warmachine: Tactics betas, I’m likely going to work on non-videogame stuff for awhile (likely picking up my Showdown: 40K conversion project again, with perhaps a slight deviation into Firestorm Armada house rules for Star Trek ships), and will pick up the next video game (likely Wasteland 2) when I get tired of that.