The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Turret thursday

| May 16, 2015

As its name would suggest, this post is about turrets. Specifically, these turrets:

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The one at the top is from a Predator Annihilator, and finds itself on the bench because, when I redid my army for 1p40k, I decided that the pintle mounted linked assault rifle (aka storm bolter) wasn’t worth it. Heck, I’m not sure it was worth it in the original 40k rules either. I also painted over the handpainted number on it, because I’m going to use a waterslide transfer instead.

Anyway, pulling that off required touching up the paint, which required mixing something which was really close to the old GW goblin green. For anyone who cares, equal parts Vallejo Game Color Dark Green (72028) and Goblin Green (72030) get you there.

The middle one I assembled from some bitz I had lying around. It’s a linked lascannon turrent for a razorback. This allows me to run the razorback with either linked lascannons or linked machineguns (another turret which is not pictured).

Finally, the bottom turret is the linked lascannon turret from my other razorback. The back of the seat broke off, so I glued it back on and repainted the joint because it took a bit of paint with it when it went.

I also fixed up misc dings and chips.

New series – from my hobby bench

| May 15, 2015

So, I’ve realized that I haven’t been blogging a lot, and that’s because I’ve been painting and working on other stuff. Now, while no one is really interested in my chores, it occurs to me that a quick snap on my phone of what I’m working on whenever I’m painting, coupled with a brief description as to what and why, might prove interesting to folks and serves as a journal for myself where I can see the progress of my mini painting.

Anyway, these are some pictures I took a little while ago largely to taunt my mother about guys which are going to come and beat up on her armies. But, they were in the gallery, so I uploaded them.

Master of the Ravenwing

This is a kit which I got for Christmas somewhere in the ballpark of 10-15 years ago.. and it remained in shrink wrap until about three months ago. When assembled, it looks like this:


(Hat tip to Dakka Dakka for the box art.)

Currently, mine is further along than the above picture suggests. It is cleaned and mostly assembled (I left Sammael and the gunner off to make them easier to paint and will glue them in later), primed, and basecoated. I’ve masked off the bodies of the crew so that I can airbrush the gun (because I’m painting it red and red is way faster with an airbrush because red takes like 5 coats to cover well) and power sword (so I can do a nice fade). The rest of it is just sharp line brush work, picking out details, etc.

Commander Shadowsun

This model, Commander Shadowsun is a new acquisition because I decided I needed a distinctive commander for my Tau. I had been using a regular crisis suit, and, under the 1p40k rules, crisis suits come in groups of 3, but the commander comes individually. Since I had 6 crisis suits, it means I could have one commander, 3 suits, and 2 extra, or buy this figure and have 2 units of 3 suits plus her. I did the latter.

By way of editorial – I love this figure. I’ve always loved this figure, and I’ve always wanted this figure, and I’m glad that I finally have the opportunity to get and paint it. Since my army is purple, she is going to get a matching (though slightly different, because she’s the boss) purple paint job. Aside from from the fact that I like the sculpt, I like the fact that she’s not a dude. See, with about one exception, the grim darkness of the future is a sausagefest.

However, this is also my first finecast mini. I’m sorry, not impressed. Now, I’ve had plaster minis before, and resin minis before, am used to the bubbles. They don’t bother me that much, though some people complain that GW does a shit job at keeping the bubbles out compared to, say, Spartan, I can’t say that mine had a lot of bubbles, but the two halves of several parts of the mold were offset more than I’d call acceptable and there was a ton of flash to be removed. However, all of that I can deal with. What really bothers me is the additional support structure/channels they added to the mini. I’m not even sure why these are there, but logic would suggest that it’s either to strengthen a thin part to stop it from twisting as the resin cures, or to allow more space for the resin to get in there in the first place. So, I had to whittle out all these little pieces (I think there were half a dozen) while not messing up the mini itself, which was hard because one isn’t totally sure what’s part of the model and what’s extra flash.

Anyway, I think that’s enough for this post. Welcome to the hobby bench.

Broadband NY

| May 13, 2015

So, the governor has been promoting a rural broadband initiative.

If I had been watching too many episodes of House of Cards, I could speculate that this is a taxpayer-funded give away to entrenched corporate near-monopoly interests (namely, Time Warner) while placating rural areas which he had recently pissed off with the SAFE act. But, let us submit for a moment that I’m not so jaded, and the intentions are pure and genuine.

On the one hand, the market oriented libertarian in me chafes at the idea of using taxpayer funds to pretty much do anything, for the standard reasons that taxation is theft and by condoning it, you’re basically saying that it’s okay to steal from people under threat of violence in order to obtain result X. This is not a peaceful, voluntary solution to challenges. This same libertarian realizes that entrenched anti-market forces have set it up so co-ops and regional governments cannot compete with them, so the idea that lack of rural broadband penetration constitutes a market failure is roughly like saying that not being able to buy certain beers in certain parts of the country is a market failure – it’s not because the market is so contrived by government intervention that it’s not really a market to begin with. Basically, you have to be a huge company like Google to be able to come in and get stuff like that done and, even then, the rent-seeking monopolists try and block you.

Anyway, let’s ignore all of those things.

If you presume the principal function of government is to administer the commons and arbitrate differences between parties, and that part of the administration of said commons is to build infrastructure (bathrooms on the fairgrounds, roads, rest stops on those roads, etc.) then it is reasonable, at this point in history, to determine that access to broadband as much of a necessity of life as access to roads, electricity, and telephones. As such, like the rural electrification initiative, these rural broadband initiatives make sense. The ROI isn’t short enough for the business to do the infrastructure build-out by themselves, so the government gives them some money to build the infrastructure and then the company gets to reap the rewards over the long term, because now, instead of having to pay off a capital outlay in 5 years, the capital outlay is nil, so you start making profit immediately (assuming the government pays for all of it). Over time, those lines cost more to maintain (because there’s more of them to have trees come down on them vs. number of subscribers), but you can pass that line maintenance cost down to the people on their bills, which is reasonable.

So, business is happy because they make money. Rural citizens are happy because they now get access to a necessity of life which they did not have before. It’s good for society because it lets people live where they’d prefer to live, and start businesses in more rural areas which traditionally have been more economically depressed, so small business creation there is good. It also gets broadband to schools which increases distance learning opportunities, which makes it reasonable to have a class of 5 kids who want to learn Mandarin. You can’t justify having a teacher with that specialty in district, but you can do it when it’s county or even state wide and done via distance learning. If we assume that government education is good, then it follows that more opportunity in this space is better.

The only losers in the bargain are urban taxpayers who are being forced to pay for a give away to businesses and rural citizens, but we’re ignoring that because it’s a “taxation is theft” argument – in reality, the amount of money given to the internet companies divided amongst the whole tax base is pretty small – I mean, the population of New York is like 20 million people, and if you assume half of them pay taxes, the stated $1 billion government pledge is a one time $100 from each of the stated people, which is not unreasonable.

So, as much as I want to hate this initiative, the only way I can do so is by my general disdain and skepticism for politics and government.

This is not a test released

| May 2, 2015

That game I played at Cold Wars is now out. You can find it at the World’s End Publishing Shop.

New link for photos

| May 2, 2015

So, the old gallery was getting full, and I figure people want to see the most recent pictures, and not have to scroll through a lot of old ones. So, I’ve made a “2015” gallery and moved a few pictures from the old gallery to there, as well as added a pile of new ones. Enjoy!

Max and Miles – 2015

Firing friends

| May 2, 2015

It should likely come as no surprise to anyone who knows me (though perhaps readers of this blog don’t know me outside of it) that I tend to form very few deep friendships while having many more casual friendships. In school, it was hard for me to make friends, and I was often lonely. This got better as time progressed because I accumulated like-minded individuals. On the one hand, this means that I’m very comfortable around my close friends, who I treat as family. On the other hand, it means that, for the more casual friendships, I basically take a more actuarial approach. Friendship maintenance has an overhead to it – it takes time and effort. If both parties get benefit from the relationship, then it continues. If I do not benefit, then I fire the friend. I expect the same from the other party.

On the one hand, you could argue that this makes me a horrible person, viewing things in such stark terms. I think this is especially likely if you take into account the Geek Social Fallacies.

The flip side to this, and the reason that I bring it up, is because, some months ago, I was having a conversation with a friend, who was very drained because a friend of hers was having more drama in her life. Now, my friend was not without her own tribulations – her mother was ill, there was sibling drama, all of those things. However, she was even more drained because every time she has lunch with her friend (or whatever they do) my friend ends up feeling drained because her friend unloads on her about how bad things are in her own life (which are largely situations of her own making and the result of decades of feelings of entitlement, unrealistic expectations about life and a lack of understanding about how the legal system handles divorce). My friend never gets to reciprocate and talk about her own problems. I told my friend that she can either avoid her friend, claiming that she’s too busy with her sick mother or flat out fire the friend. Either way, she gets a toxic energy draining person out of her life. I think getting rid of toxic people is important, because their toxicity spreads. It’s one thing to try and help them, but there comes a point where you need to declare people unfixable and move on.

A corollary to the toxic person is “the annoying person”. You know, the person who wouldn’t be invited to parties because no one really wants them there, except that they’d feel like jerks for not inviting them, because they’re well-intentioned. So, you invite them, and then they leave and everyone is glad they’re gone because they’re just so annoying. You can’t talk to them about it, because they’d, at best, take offense, or, at worst, blame you for being a jerk because you don’t understand something about where they’re coming from, and why they behave the way that they do. The thing is, while they may be justified in their own mind, that doesn’t change the fact that, after the party, everyone is getting into their cars and says “man, X really gets on my nerves, I’m glad we only see them once a year”. Yeah, perhaps it’s best to just not invite them period.

What do you think? Does firing friends make you a horrible person?