Thursday, December 18, 2008

My first run for Boston '09 went really well. It was only four miles but I was happy with the consistent pace I kept and how I felt at the end. I was supposed to run 6 miles yesterday but that got scrapped due to A Very Die Hard Christmas, and today's 4 miler is going to get missed because Laura and I are going to the ballet. I'll make up the 6 miles tomorrow and the 4 miles on Monday. Not the best way to start off a training program but it can't be helped.

I finished off the first three Terminators the other day. It took me about two weeks to work my way through them which is a lot longer than I would have liked. For some reason I just wasn't very excited about painting and I couldn't do more than little bits on them before I'd get bored.

They're a little sloppy but I'm glad that they're finally done. I might have my first game with this army (and first 5th edition game ever) on Sunday afternoon. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to try to get the rest of this squad painted by then or not.

Last night was the annual Christmas party at my house. We started a tradition last year where a bunch of us get together for dinner, beer, and Die Hard. I'm a big fan of the movie and since I organized the party, I cooked. Laura helped me make two lasagnas and a big salad and she brought cookies. I think overall it was a rousing success - at least I know I had a good time.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Marathon training starts up in eight days. I've been working on nailing down 8:30 mile pace the past few days (it is the pace I'll be running my long and recovery runs at so I'd better know it) and I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll have it before next week. I've been doing 4 mile runs that include the big hill that my house is on to get practice on downhills, uphills, and flats.

Right now I think I have the first six weeks of training tentatively planned out, as well as the final three weeks. Those middle nine are giving me trouble. Every time I read something new it seems to contradict what I have previously learned so I think I'm going to hold off scheduling those middle weeks until I know more about what I should be doing. Lisa and I are going to run and get sushi on Wednesday to talk about it and I'll go from there.

I finished Sorscha last week so I have a legal army. I think she turned out really well and I was really happy with her face. I should have painted her eyes first because once the skin was done I was scared that I would ruin it if I tried to paint the eyes.

the face that I'm so proud of

the whole battle box done

I've started work on a squad of Terminators for my Crimson Fists and they should be done before I leave for Christmas.

Laura, Britta, and I went to a cool artisan fair yesterday downtown. Britta and I bought some stuff for our parents and Laura and Britta both bought a lot of jewelry for themselves and friends. There was a lot of cool stuff there and we met up with Lauren for a fun time all around.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving was a good time and I find myself enjoying being home more and more every time I go. Britta, Dad, and I ran a 5k in the morning and it was gorgeous. I ran something around 18:45 and felt pretty good doing it. Dad and I then spend the day (and night) tearing up carpet on the first floor to allow a man to come in and assess our house for wood floors.

Mom's dinner was delicious as always. We had a big turkey, really good stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and yams of some sort. There was also cheese cake and pecan pie to help send us off to bed happy.

Britta and I saw Grandma briefly on Saturday afternoon before continuing on to Penn Station and our train. She doesn't remember either of us and the whole time we were in her house I was very uncomfortable and upset with the whole situation.

I've been doing a ton of research lately into marathon training. I've set a goal for myself of a 3:20:00 marathon at Boston this year. I read a good article from Culla and I bought a book he recommended. The more I read and learn the less clear the picture becomes for me; there is so much that goes into a good training plan. It is becoming very clear to me why coaches exist.

Before the holiday I finished the last three models for my second tactical squad. I'm having problems with my Blood Red being terrible so the red parts on the model are not very good. I like the melta gunners though.

multi melta, sergeant with a power fist, melta gun

second squad completed

That now makes two full tactical squads painted, which represents a big share of my 1000 point list taken care of. I think the next squad I'll do for this army will be five terminators, but right now I'm working on Sorcsha for my Khador army.

I didn't purchase anything little men related last month, which means my fund loses half of that unspent money (50 dollars) and picks up another 50 dollars for the month of December.

New Model Fund - $75

Model List -
Khador Greylord Ternion (to finish off 500 points)
Khador Koldun Lord (to finish off 500 points)
Khador Kodiak (to finish off 500 points better)
Space Marine Assault Squad (because it is cheaper than just buying the bits I need)
Space Marine Sternguard Squad (because the models are gorgeous)
paints and brushes (Baal Red, Devlan Mud, Badab Black, Thraka Green, Orkhide Shade, a 00, 0, and large tank brush, Testors Dull Coat)

There are also several more Space Marine purchases I'd like to make, including a Drop Pod and Vindicator, but I'm going to hold them off the list. Everything currently on the list (except the Sternguard) are for my Tale of Painters projects.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I wanted to save these images somewhere so I could find and use them later for reference. These are some Sternguard that were painted by spikyjames. Some of his conversions are fantastic and I'd like to incorporate some of his ideas into my squad.

I've been reading some interesting articles from the New York Times about the Citigroup crisis. I also read a story about some plausible but unsubstantiated terrorist threats on NYC public transportation and trains coming into and out if the city. Normally I don't put much stock in these things but since I'll be spending plenty of time on Amtrak and the NYC bus system tonight I'm a little spooked.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sometime towards the end of last week my grandmother had a stroke. Initially it didn't sound so bad but my mom told me later that it hit the part of her brain that controls her memories and that she didn't remember much of anything. She sort of knew her three oldest daughters (my mom is the oldest) but had some trouble with her youngest, Ana, and yesterday couldn't come up with my Dad's name. I think my mom is doing her best not to be upset but I know she is. We're not sure what's going to happen when Grandma gets out of the hospital but it doesn't sound like she is going to be able to live on her own anymore.

Laura's big birthday party was on Saturday night at the Pour House. A bunch of people cycled in and out over the course of the evening and everyone who stayed had a good time and drank a bunch.

The next morning Shannon and I were supposed to compete in breakfast olympics (my chocolate chip pancakes against her french toast) but she was too hung over to do anything but lie in bed so Drew and I ate some pancakes and got coffee. We then spend a good amount of time wrestling with a 13 pound frozen turkey in a giant bowl of hot water. It had been defrosting for three days but was still largely frozen and we were hosting a Thanksgiving dinner that afternoon / evening. After both of our moms told us that we could potentially kill everyone at our dinner party (and after getting soaked with warm turkey juice) we decided to get a fresh turkey from Stop and Shop and roll with that guy.

Turkey cooking proceeded without a hitch after that and was probably lubricated by Beth's new drink concoction, Breakfast Champagne. It is a half and half mixture of High Life and Orange Juice; it sounds gross but it's very refreshing. Over the course of the day we went through about 30 High Lifes making these things for about a dozen people.

My dad sent me a really nice article about one of my favorite soccer players, Frankie Hejduk. He scored one of Columbus's three goals in their 3-1 victory over the Red Bulls in yesterday's MLS final.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Laura's birthday is today. We're going to see Quantum of Solace tonight and last night we went to Zon's for a delicious birthday dinner. Saturday is her party thing at the Pour House. Thus far she's enjoyed the dinner and the present I gave her and I anticipate her having a good weekend as well.

The weather has taken a rather intense drop in temperature. This morning I rode to work in 27 degree weather and had to spend time at work thawing out. My run yesterday wasn't as fast as I had hoped because my legs couldn't warm up. I know it was colder last year when Lisa and I would run in December and January but I'm just not used to it yet.

Last night I finished the Destroyer for my Khador army. I got some really good feedback on Librarium Online regarding battle damage, highlighting, and shading that I feel really helped me improve this model over the Juggernaut.

After some experiments with the blue to white gradient as a background I've decided to stop using it. It was creating a lot of glare on the models and washing out their colors to the point that they all looked like flat, neon messes. The pictures above were taken without and background at all and I think they really show what the model looks like so I may just stick with that.

For reference, this is what he looks like with the gradient.

This isn't a terrible picture but if you compare it to the ones above you can clearly see how washed out the model is; the highlights disappear and the colors are a lot brighter than they are in reality.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the puppies you need to take a look.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Work has been really dragging this week even though I had Tuesday off. Sometimes I can get myself excited to do something but most of the time I find myself bored, listless, and uninterested.

Laura has been applying to a lot of publishing jobs recently and came across an interesting potential career move for me in the field of mathematics text book publishing. She sent me a few postings for jobs editing and working with math texts. It is something I had never considered before but now that she's planted the idea in my head I'm intrigued.

Recently a UFC fighter who I like, Chris Leben, failed a drug test and was suspended for 9 months. My reaction to this was to feel bad for him because I like him and I feel like he's overcome a lot in his life. I was out on a run the other day thinking about this and I realized that my reaction was the complete opposite to how I normally react to situations like this. I can't stand Sean Sherk, another UFC fighter who failed a drug test, and have almost not respect for him as an athlete anymore. I also distinctly remember when Justin Gatlin failed his drug tests and how betrayed I felt by him. Other althletes like Marion Jones, Floyd Landis, and Jan Ulrich have been tainted for me by their steroid useage and I know that I can never look at any of their achievements with any sort of faith that they were achieved in good faith.

I honestly don't know why Chris Leben bucks my trend of anger and resentment towards althletes who use steroids. I liked Justin Gatlin more than Chris Leben and I was more familiar with Gatlin and Marion Jones's accomplishements and careers. Most of the other people on my list denied using while Leben admitted it immediatley. I wouldn't even say that Leben is very high up on my list of favorite fighters, so why do I feel sympathy for him when I could never support any of those others again? I honestly have no idea.

I've decided to start reading more. It's been a while since I read any sort of book and I'd like to get back into the habit. I also want to be more informed so I've taken to browsing CNN and the New York Times at work when I have spare time.

I went climbing the other night before and after teaching and had a lot of fun. I still remember most of my technique and I'm just waiting for my arm and hand strength to return. Unfortunatly I tore a lot of skin off the pad on my right middle finger but I've been drying it out pretty aggressively so I hope it will be usable in a few days.

I finished off the last three marines for my first tactical squad.

all 10

vet with power sword

plasma twins

the three new guys

Monday, November 10, 2008

The other day Laura asked me some question about how much my little men hobby costs. A while ago I started tracking my expenditures in a speadsheet so I looked up how much I've spent this year on little men and I was surprised to see that I had spent almost 1000 dollars this year on models, paint, and related supplies. Even though this hobby is expensive I think that's a bit too much money for me to be spending right now on things like that. I know that a lot of those purchases were not essential (not that any of this is essential, but within the context of the hobby for me) and that I could probably cut down without too much difficulty.

With that in mind I've decided to start making prioritized lists of the models I want to purchase and limit my spending. My plan is to budget no more than 50 dollars a month to spend on all aspects of the hobby. Every month 50 dollars will be put into my New Model Fund (I stole this name and most of this idea from lone pilgrim). At the end of each month I will bank half of the unused 50 dollars in the fund and lose the rest. This sets a maximum expenditure of 600 dollars for the year and leaves the door open for me to spend less.

The second part of this plan is to maintain a list of models that I want to purchase and try to rank them in order of importance to me. I think this will help me stop compulsively buying cool looking models and just keeping them in boxes on my shelf.

I'm going to start this retroactively to the first of the month, so the standings are:

New Model Fund - $50

Model List -
Khador Greylord Ternion (needed to round out my 350 point list)
a few Space Marine bits (jump packs, running legs)
Space Marine Sternguard Squad (because they're awesome)
Khador Kodiak (needed to round out my 500 point list)
Khador Koldun Lord (needed to round out my 500 point list)
paints and brushes (Baal Red, Devlan Mud, a 00, 0, and large tank brush, Testors Dull Coat)

Obviously things like shipping costs will probably dictate that I buy things out of order here (i.e. if I buy the Greylords I'll probably get the rest of the Warmachine models to save money on shipping) but I think this is going to help keep me on track.

I ran a 5k yesterday and did pretty well. The course was pretty bad (there were no mile markers, there were a lot of sharp turns on slick, uneven pavement) but I managed to finish 8th out of 250ish and get an 18:19. Given that I've only run five times since the marathon I'm pretty happy with my performance. I think that with a little effort I can hit my goal of a sub 18 on Thanksgiving.

After the race Laura and I went to a diner with the rest of the team and had huge heart-attack breakfasts.

Last night was the Drive-By Truckers and The Hold Steady show. Overall the show was fantastic. DBT were engaging and their three guitar assault was loud and rocking. There were some issues with the vocals that made the singer hard to hear and their fans were kind of obnoxious but none of that detracted much from their performance.

I went to the show to see The Hold Steady and they didn't dissapoint. They came out and played most of their usual live show fare with a few new songs (new to their live show) that really made the show for me - Chill Out Tent, First Night, Two Handed Handshake, and Killer Parties. The lead singer from DBT came out to sing the male part of Chill Out Tent and did alright, but when their female bassist took on the female part she sounded more like a cat than the Dolly Parton she was doing earlier. It was a shame that the vocals really let that song down but it was a real treat to hear the band play it. Other than a few songs from the new album that they tried to force their setlist was tight and very entertaining.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I taught on Wednesday night and stayed after my class to climb during the open hours. I had my ass handed to me since I haven't climbed in so long; I loved it. I discovered that I really miss climbing so I'm going to try to get on the wall a few days a week. Matt told me I could use the wall right after work as long as I wore my staff shirt so that takes away my excuse that the open hours are too late and I don't want to commute.

Obama won on Tuesday night, that was awesome. Laura and I stayed up to watch McCain's concession speech (very gracious) and Obama's acceptance speech before going to bed very happy. After the past two Presidential elections I didn't have much faith in the election system and even though Obama has been consistently ahead in the polls for a while I was very nervous all day on Tuesday. Now that it's all over and he won so decisevley (and the Democrats picked up seats in the House and Senate) I have a much brighter view of the future of this country.

Laura and I saw the Decemberists play last night. I wasn't hugely excited for this show because I didn't know if this band could capture my interest live. I sure was wrong. The crowd was excited and the singer wrapped several hundred people around his finger for an hour and a half. They played a lot of songs that I wasn't familiar with but towards the end of their set they shook the balconey (literaly) with O Valencia! and then ended their encore with Sons and Daughters, my favorite song.

The best part of that song is the out-tro where the band sings the phrase "hear all the bombs fade away" together. Their vocals combined with the music produces a haunting and pleasent sound. Right before this section of the song the singer paused and explained that he had written the song a few years ago and this particular part was in reference to the current administration and how the only solution he could see to making the bombs fade away was to leave. Now though, after Tuesday he said the song's meaning had changed for him and it represented his hope that the bombs would fade away because a new President had been elected who would help lead the country out of the war. That was a really poignant moment for me, made even more so when he invited 30 people up on stage to sing it with him. I really couldn't have asked for a better ending to the show.

I found this thread by dave8oy on Warseer. Take a look at the lenses on the marine here - they're incredibly detailed and look phenomenal.

by dave8oy

I am hoping to use this weekend and my day off on Tuesday to paint the last three marines for my first Crimson Fist squad and I'm going to see if I can replicate this effect.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I voted this morning! After waiting for about 45 minutes I was given a scantron (not nearly as exciting as I wanted it to be) and a marker. I marked my Obama circle, had my name checked off a list, and fed my sheet into a machine. This was way more exciting than voting absentee (which I did four years ago) and I've been pretty amped about the whole thing since last night. Laura and I are planning to stay up to watch the election coverage because I doubt I could go to sleep without knowing the outcome.

My Crimson Fists did their civic duty and voted last night as well.

third man from the right is getting his vote on

Thankfully these guys are the last bolter marines I have planned for the foreeable future in this army. That's a good thing because I'm already getting tired of painting power armour. Once these two tactical squads are done I'll start painting some Terminators or Scouts for some diversity.

I've been running a little bit since the marathon but not too much. I am signed up for a 5k this weekend in Allston somewhere and that should be a good time.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lisa and I survived our marathon this past weekend but just barely. We were cruising though the first 20 or 21 miles and we were on pace to finish about 4.5 minutes under my previous marathon PR of 3:35:12 when Lisa rolled her ankle pretty badly. I wasn't about to let her miss qualifying for Boston so we started alternating running and walking. I kept a close watch on the time and we finished officially at 3:39:03 to get Lisa her sub 3:40:00.

Prior to that incident her and I were flying along. We got a slow start trying to navigate all the people but we settled into something between an 8:05 and 8:10 pace all the way until mile 20. We had a few miles under 8:00 and a few over 8:20 but mostly we were feeling really good and steady. The course was very flat and scenic which helped to offset the lack of hundreds of thousands of fans and other runners. The biggest challenge for me was mental. Towards the end (even before Lisa rolled her ankle) the miles seemed to stretch out and it felt like ages between each mile marker sign. My cardio held up fine just like in Boston and I had some stiffening of my quads again but this was significantly less since there was no three mile hill to climb.

Overall the course was a lot of fun and I would have absolutely set a PR if I hadn't hung back to get Lisa across the line. However, I'm really happy with how the race ended and I'm really proud of Lisa for qualifying despite her injury.

mile split total
1 miss
2 17:51 17:51
3 8:18 26:09
4 8:13 34:23
5 8:08 42:31
6 8:10 50:42
7 8:22 59:05
8 8:08 1:07:13
9 8:11 1:15:24
10 8:20 1:23:45
11 7:46 1:31:32
12 8:06 1:39:38
13 8:19 1:47:57
14 7:52 1:55:50
15 7:56 2:03:46
16 8:04 2:11:51
17 8:09 2:20:01
18 8:05 2:28:06
19 8:06 2:36:13
20 8:11 2:44:24
21 8:21 2:52:45
22 8:27 3:01:12
23 9:21 3:10:34
24 9:45 3:20:20
25 8:27 3:28:48
26 8:35 3:37:23
finish 1:42 3:39:05

I started training for this during the second week in June and ended up covering 549.3 miles over the course of 18 weeks in training and the race itself. At one point during the training I missed out on a 50 mile week entirely and I spent a few weeks battling stomach problems that caused me to cut some runs short. Given all that, and the fact that I trained about 575 miles for the first marathon I am really happy with my performance here. I'm going to be running Boston in April again and I have some ideas to radically change up my training.

I took Monday off to relax and recover from the race and used to it finish off my next 5 Space Marines.

newest 5

all 10 that I've finished

I'm happy with how these guys are turning out. They're currently missing decals on their shoulder pads because I haven't figured out a good way to apply them. There is a good tutorial that I found online that I need to try out before I go wasting the decals that I need.

After rallying to tie the series 3-3, the Red Sox lost to the Rays on Sunday. It was a bummer but I'm glad they fought back and didn't roll over and give it to the Rays.

mile 13


Friday, October 17, 2008

I'll admit that I spent most of yesterday thinking about how sad it would be when the Red Sox lost Game 5 against the Rays. When I left work a little after 8pm and it was 2-0 bad guys I lost most of the enthusiasm I had for getting home quickly to watch the game. I stopped watching in the 7th inning when the Rays get a double steal on Paplebon to put men on 2nd and 3rd with no outs.

Apparently I should have more faith. The Red Sox scored 4 in the 7th, 3 in the 8th, and then sealed it in the 9th, and I missed it. I found out they won by reading the front page of someone else's Metro while I waited for the train this morning. I spent half an hour this morning at work reading articles about the win, but this one in particular does a great job of capturing the energy and intensity that I imagine accompanyed those last three innnings.

Now it's back to Tampa to play Game 6. Go Sox!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I was not really happy with the red on this model so I went at it again last night. First I added some shading to bring out the depth, and then I tried to add some more highlights and brighten up the ones that were already there. I don't think it worked very well, to be honest. I still think the red is pretty flat overall, and now that I've been screwing with it repeatedly I think it looks sloppy.

The next idea I had was to add some battle damage to distract from the poor highlighting. I didn't really think out the placement, size, or shape of the scratches much and I think the model's left side suffered as a result.

Ultimately, while I'm not happy with how he came out I think that I learned a lot of things that I can apply to the next warjack that I paint.

<-- good side, bad side -->

good side

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I spent several hours this weekend painting a Khador Juggernaut and this is the result (photographed poorly - they don't show the highlights that do exist however faint):

I had a lot of trouble conceptually highlighting the huge red armour plates. My typical strategy of line highlighting was pretty useless on the vast, flat expanses that needed to be highlighted. I went for what I thought would be natural highlights but I'm not satisfied. I don't think I executed my plan correctly and I don't think I have enough contrast for the highlights to be visible. The Warmachine rulebook has some good reference pictures and I'm going to try to use them to touch up this guy. I'm also thinking of trying to paint on some battle damage, but I'd like to get the highlights correct first.

I decided to enter a second army into the Tale of Painters on Librarium Online. In addition to my 1000 points of Crimson Fists I will be working on 500 points of Khador. The Juggernaut represents 100 points done already so my first month's submission is already take care of. Once I get those next 5 tacitcal marines done I'll have my Fists sumbission done for the month also so I think I'm in pretty good shape to take care of both.

Once these two projects are done I am thinking of doing some Cygnar models. The two that have really caught my eye are Coleman Stryker and the Journeyman Warcaster.

Coleman Stryker (image from Privateer Press)

Journeyman Warcaster (image from Privateer Press)

Khador has a feeling of steampunk Russion, and Cygnar has a knightly feel to them. I also really like the vibrant blue color of their armour.

My next marathon is coming up on Sunday. I think if I can run a 3:40 and help Lisa to qualify that I'll be happy. Somehow I managed to get a blood blister on one of my big toes; hopefully that won't be too much of a pain in the ass.

Spoony was in town this weekend for regionals. It was really good to see him. Since I had Monday off (hooray Chris Columbus!) Laura and I got brunch at the Center Street Cafe. It was really good and a lot of fun. Even though we've been dating for over two years now I still like going on dates with Laura.

The Red Sox have dropped two straight to fall behind 1-2 against the Rays. Hopefully they can pick it up tonight and bring it back to even.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I managed to assemble the next 5 marines while watching the Red Sox beat the Angles but I've been pretty busy lately and haven't had time to clean or prime them. I tried some more dynamic poses with these 5 - some of them worked and others not so much.

My taper jitters have come back. The runs that I'm doing as part of the taper have not been enough to eat up all the energy I have so I've been a little jumpy the past few days. My two runs this week have thus far been pretty good and I'm anticipating another good one this evening.

I watched the most recent debate and was generally unimpressed with both candidates. Neither one would answer a question directly and they just rehashed the same points from the previous debate. I think Obama won, but only because McCain lost worse.

While we're on the subject, I've been reading some more interesting articles about McCain and Palin. I'll be the first to admit my libe
ral bias, but I think it's worth giving these articles a read anyway.

A few weeks ago I sumbitted my Massachusetts voter registration paperwork and as the deadline approaches, I've been checking to se
e if they have processed my paperwork. They hadn't as of a few days ago so I e-mailed them but got no response. Since it is important to me that I be able to vote I called City Hall and asked about it. They told me I am registered to vote (hooray!) and that the online database isn't updated as regularly as their databases are.

Some photos from the 5k this past weekend:

Monday, October 06, 2008

My first Crimson Fist squad is done!

The three in front are the product of last week's work, and the two in back are a few months old. Those two I'm not really excited about and if I were to strip some models one day, those would be the first two I'd try.

I'm going to be building another 5 bolter marines tonight (hopefully) in an effort to knock off the boring guys first. Those 10 guys will be my first Tale of Painters II submission from the painting event going on at Librarium Online. This first ToP was the reason I finished up my Wood Elves and in six months I'm hoping it nets me 1000 points of marines.

Lisa and I ran a 5k this weekend in Somerville with some friends. I was hoping to go sub 18 and get a PR but apparently all this marathon training has blunted my speed a bit and I finished in 18:49. I'm still really happy with how I performed and I know that with a little speed work I could crush the 18 minute mark, seeing as I wasn't breathing hard at the end of this race at all.

We also did a 12 mile run this Sunday at 8:47 pace. This is also not as fast as I would have liked it to be but again I'm happy with it. After some rather poor showings on the previous weeks' long runs I was happy to get a quality run in before the marathon.

Friday after work Laura and I saw Burn After Reading. It was very well acted and the dialouge was clever and funny, but I wasn't totally sold on the movie. The plot was pretty complex and I had to focus on what was going on. This would have been fine if they had built it up to some huge climax at the end, but when the movie ended I felt let down.

I cooked burgers last night for Laura and I. Laura wasn't confident in her ability to eat a whole burger (a justifiable concern) so I made her two sliders. Early reports were positive and I haven't heard any terror stories about her body rejecting them, so I think she probably liked them.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I've finally gotten started on my Crimson Fists. I have the two test models I did a few months ago and last night I painted up a third bolter marine. From a technical standpoint I am very very happy with how he turned out. I gave him a really smooth base coat of Regal Blue and then two highlights. The first one was a 60/40 or even 70/30 mix of Regal Blue / Ultramarines Blue that was pretty watered down. I used this in pretty broad strokes as a bridge between the basecoat and the second highlight, which very thin lines of straight Ultramarines Blue.

Looking at the model up close I was really proud how how I had executed the highlighting, but from arms length almost all of them dissapeared. Obviously that's the opposite of how I wanted the highlights to work and I'm not sure what went wrong. I went ahead and finished the model with the hope that addine the reds, metallics, and whites would help the overall effect pop. To a small extent they did but not as much as I wanted.

I'm not really sure how to fix this but I'll keep experimenting.

Last week was the last up week of my marathon training and it was capped off with the last 20 miler in the schedule. Sunday was a very rainy, cool day and I think that contributed to the pretty poor showing both Lisa and I had during the run. Neither one of us had much pop in our legs from the get-go and come mile 10ish we were both feeling pretty bad. Around Kenmore Square we both decided to slog through to the bottom of my hill and then walk up.

I'm sure the rain played a role in our poor showing but I'm not willing to give it all the credit. Neither one of the 20 milers I've done this training cycle have gone particularly well, and both times (and other times through this training) I've felt that my legs just didn't have and life in them. I don't know if this is because they're reacting poorly to the increase in mileage or if they're not recovering adequately or if the problem is something else. I hope that the three weeks of tapering gives them enough time to rest and be fresh for the race.

Other people however, don't seem to be having my problems. Haile Gebrselassie, the world record holder in the marathon, shaved 27 seconds off his previous record time to finish the Berlin marathon in 2:03:59 and become the first person to ever run a marathon under two hours and four minutes. And he's 35 years old! I think it's only a matter of a few years before someone knocks off those last few minutes and we're looking at a marathon run in under two hours.

Steve and I had a long conversation yesterday about the financial crisis currently going on. I was pretty uninformed about it and when I tried to get informed, most of the articles I was reading were assuming that I already knew what was going on. I think I have a handle on the general ideas now and I'll admit to being a little nervous about what's going to happen. My dad sent me an article a few days ago that talked about the bailout plan that was ultimately shot down.

This Thursday is the Vice-Presidential debate. I am planning on racing home after teaching on Thursday to watch it and see how Sarah Palin holds up. I am pretty scared of the prospect of her becoming the VP after watching her handle herself in this interviw with Katie Couric. Thus far she's been almost completely hidden from the national media and most every time she has spoken it's been pretty scripted. She tried standing on her feet for that interview and failed miserably, so I wonder how she's going to make up for that during the debate. The evidence against her keeps growing and I think Thursday will be a very telling moment.

A few weeks ago my parents came up to visit and brought my old Play Station. Yesterday my copy of Final Fantasy VII arrived in the mail and I'm really excited to play it. I remember the huge hype and excitement when I was in 7th or 8th grade and it came out and how even now it is hailed as one of the greatest RPGs ever made. Unfortunatley I never got a chance to play much of the game (or Final Fantasy IIX or IX) so I'm excited, as a fan of the RPG genre, to finally get to play it through.

After teaching last Thursday I finally got on the wall and climbed for the first time in what feels like months. It didn't go very well. I still remember how to make all the motions but I don't have any of my arm, core, or hand strength. I've certianly done this before with climbing but it doesn't get any less frustrating.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

After a few more days of diligent painting I completed my Wild Rider Noble.

I tried a few more of the washes on him and I had some pretty good successes. I used Gryphonne Sepia on his helmet horns, Asurmen Blue in his hair, and Badab Black on the skulls on his cape and on the horse's skin. The blue worked really well on the Waywatchers earlier and continued to do so here. The black was probably the star of the show though. It really added depth to the two skulls and did a great job bringing the horse's skin together.

This completes the 2000 point army list I've been working on for the past year.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Last Monday Laura was doored by a woman in Brookline Village. She ended up getting away with just a broken elbow but the whole experience was terrifying. The two of us spend some painful hours in an ER where we got jerked around by the doctors. The next day I called Jenn because I had no idea what to do, and she reccomeneded a doctor at Boston Medical. We went and he was great, and since then Laura has been doing a lot better. Her elbow still hurts a lot, but the swelling has gone down a lot and her range of motion has improved as well.

She has another appointment next week where hopefully we'll learn that everything is healing well and that there are no more problems.

This past weekend I crushed my 12 mile run. I know that the middle six miles I was cruising really hard both down and up Heartbreak, and I know that the last three miles were a bit slower because I was pretty tired. I ended up averaging 7:49 per mile, which means that I was going faster than that for the middle six. This week is the last up week before the taper and Lisa and Ia re hoping to have a more successful 20 miler than we did two weeks ago.

I've been doing my best to crank out my last Wood Elves before October 1st. Last week I had a lot of painting time while I was taking care of Laura and I managed to finish my last Waywatcher.

Waywatcher Noble

This is the noble model, but since I couldn't find 6 distinct Waywatcher sculpts I brought this guy in to finish out the squad. I'm not as happy with this guy as I was with the blonde or gray haired Waywatchers, but I think he looks good and I'm one model closer to being done.

This weekend I made a really good start on the Wildrider Noble who is the last model I need to paint. I have him broken down into three sections, main body, arms, and horse. I finished the body (the largest part) and I hope to finish the arms tonight. Once that's done it will be a single night's work to finish off the horse and then I'll be done with the elves!

I put up a few ebay auctions for some models that I won't be using, specifically a OOP Space Marine Land Speeder and some Knights of Chaos. Both auctions have watchers and one already has a bid.

I also bought some tiny rare earth magnets after reading this post over at All Thinkgs 40k to play around with magnetizing my Space Marines.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I finished up the Waywatchers this weekend.

All five

A close up that shows the hair and details.

I'm really happy with how the hair came out on these models (the two who have it anyway) as well as their dark green cloaks. The details really help bring these models to life and they look great lined up with the rest of the army. I have two more models left for this army, and about two weeks to get them done it. The end is nigh!

I made use of some of the new Games Workshop washes on these guys, which was something I hadn't done before. I really wanted to bring some definition the their faces, so I tried the Gryphonne Sepia in several different scenarios. Overall I wasn't terribly impressed, although I will probably try once more with Devlan Mud. I had a little more luck with the bone colored armour on their chests. I started with Bleached Bone and gave a pretty liberal coating of Gryphonne Sepia over it. Again, not really a rousing success but better this time. The washes really shined on the two models with hair though. The Gryphonne Sepia helped bring a lot of contrast to the blonde hair, and Asurmen Blue was a hero on the gray hair.

While I had been hoping for more success with these new washes, I had enough to warrent me going out to purchase the Devlan Mud (brown) and Badab Black (black) ones to see what they can do. I wanted to make use of them for shading on the power armour of my Crimson Fists, so we'll see what happens. I may also try some more flesh experiments with Ogryn Flesh.

I am really itching to start my Crimson Fists army. I've been pouring over pictures online of well painted marines and I keep coming back to two painters who are very inspiring to me. The first is Cyric the Mad because of the bold and bright highlights he uses. His models have a very clean look that I like and I think his style would be easy to replicate.

The other is spikyjames. His style looks a lot less bold from far away but has a very bold effect from up close. The painting techniques he uses look quite a bit more complex but the results are incredible.

My goal with the Crimson Fists is to find a good balance between these two styles.

This past week was my first 50 mile week ever; Lisa and I ran 20 miles yesterday to cap it off. The 20 miler didn't go as well as I had hoped but after skipping a week of training for the road trip and having a rough few weeks due to stomach problems I was happy to finish at all. Lisa looks to be in phenomenal shape and I'm sure she won't have any problems qualifying for Boston.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lisa and I went on a nice 12 mile run yesterday. I felt like I was gliding along at a really nice pace for the first 10.5 miles, and then I felt like I ground out a good finish up South Huntington, but my watch told me that I was just under 9 minute miles for the whole thing. That's a lot slower that I thought I was going (and hoped I was going) but I'm still pretty happy with the run overall.

This week tops out at 50 miles, 20 of which will be run on Sunday. I've never run that much in a week, and 20 mile runs are always a daunting prospect. This week will be a good indicator of where my training is now and how I'll be for the marathon.

Laura and I were at Cambridgeside Galleria this weekend getting some clothes and I decided to stop into the Petsmart there to see if they had any neons. They did and I ended up bringing home a dozen of them (although I only asked for 10). The attrition rate was pretty awful and I ended up losing five of them at an alarming rate, but the remaining seven seem to be doing alright. They are still pretty skittish and like to hide in the back corner behind some plants, but they were moving around pretty well when I woke up this morning. Their eating has been pretty sparse thus far but I'm sure they'll get hungry eventually.

I finally sat down last week and started painting some Waywatchers.

I have most of the major color blocks done (skin, tabards, cloaks, and cloak details) with just the leather left before the massive detailing begins. These models have tons and tons of little things all over them; my goal is to finish the leather in the next few days and then do the detailing on one or two a night. Even though these photos don't show it, the highlighting on their cloaks looks really good. I took my time and paid attention to where the highlights should go and at the end I was really happy with how it came out.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

More Crimson Fists painting research. A guy named spikyjames (who is already in my big thread of marines) does some really excellent work with marines. His poses and conversions look very realistic and dynamic and his highlighting is fantastic.

His Ultramarines are painted with the following (taken from his Warseer project log):

1- base coat of midnight blue allover
2- regal blue on all the armour plates leaving midnight in all the recess's
3- 1st highlight of 50/50 regalblue/ultramarine bluefairly fat around the edges of the armour
4- 2nd highlight ultramarine blue around all the edges of the armour(edging only)
5- 3rd and final highlight space wolf grey only on the extreme edges of the armour plates

This produces something that looks like this:

I think I can replicate this effect (not nearly as well, but enough). I really like how step 3 in his process adds something akin to a glow on all of the edges, instead of an extreme highlight. I also like the white dots he adds to the back of the lenses; I've seen it before and I'm going to try to incoprate it into my Fists.

I finally got a start on my Waywatchers. Right now their skin and smocks are painted, and I hope to get some of their camouflage done tonight. The models are very detailed and I've been taking my time on them. Thus far they've turned out pretty well and I hope I can do them justice. I tried using some washes of Gryphonne Sepia on their faces to bring out the details but I don't think it worked terribly well.

After taking a week off of running I wanted to come right back and get into the swing of things. My plan was to run 4, 5, 6, and 7 miles starting on Monday, take a break on Friday, and then return with the normal rotation on Saturday and Sunday. For some reason I ran the 4 and 5 milers at around 7:15 pace per mile and I'm paying for it now. My legs have been sore and tight for two days and I'm going to cut the 7 miles down to 4 to try to work the soreness out before this weekend.

Those two runs pretty much cemented for me that I won't be able to qualify for Boston this year. That pace of 7:15 is what I need to run per mile in order to hit the 3:10:59 qualifing time, and if I can barely hit it on 9 miles over two days I suspect that I won't be able to hit it for the full 26.2 I'm surprisingly unconcerned however and I still think I can get a PR at the race.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I've been here (and by that I mean driving across the country) for the past week.

The blog ends with our arrival in Vegas sometime on Friday night. I was exhausted and passed right out. Saturday we spent at the pool drinking beer and swimming (sometimes at the same time!) before donning suits and heading out to the casinos. I ended up losing 200 bucks playing blackjack and craps, but it was a fun time. I'm going to miss Spoony a lot, but he'll be around for ultimate and we made plans to meet up at some big Warhammer tournament sometime next year.

I only managed one run over the past week, which is a bit troubling to me. The one was a gorgeous 2 hour, 14 mile run along the coast of Lake Michigan that I was feeling really good about. I'm planning on doing 4 miles today, and increasing one or two miles every day depending on how I'm feeling.

At this point I don't think I'll be able to qualify for Boston this year, but I'm still going to train hard and do my best. I think I over-simplified the type of training I'm going to need to do in order to qualify, but I think the mistakes I made this time around will help me later on.

Spoon and I stopped at a comics / gaming store in Albuquerque so I could get a copy of White Dwarf to read in the airport. I ended up getting a few back issues and I really enjoyed reading it. There are all sorts of good tutorials and articles and tons of detailed shots of very well painted miniatures. I ordered a subscription today along with the Dark Elves and High Elves Army books. I've also been doing some more research into my Crimson Fists, so I need to get in gear and finish off those seven Wood Elves.

My laptop still hasn't arrived, but I know they've charged my credit card; hopefully it arrives soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Also, photos from Laura and my trip to New York!

Laura and her brother.

Me looking weird.

A fountain in a park.

Times Square.


Post No Bills (I love these stencils).