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December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays Horde

I already painted a set of these guys in blue, so it seemed like it would be ok to color the rest of them in red and green. No one has to know that it was for the holidays (although the white trim is probably a bit much).

Anyway, may your holidays be free of any nasty little elves armed with spears and maces.

By fnord12 | December 24, 2015, 11:16 AM | D&D| Link

December 23, 2015

Moar Horde

Per my last miniature post, nothing super-remarkable to say about these figures. But that doesn't meant they aren't pretty cool.

I definitely have "enough" lizard men already, but this is a cool looking figure. And i really like the pirate guy. Unfortunately like the last pirate, he has a gun (not pictured) which i'll again just have to ignore.

A pair of Drow. The guy on the left has a pet bat, which is something new (although not all that practical for use in a game).

A pair of fighters, one human and one halfling.

And this guy who i realized i should have done with my Egyptian themed set. To distinguish this one, i didn't do the black drybrush technique this time, so that his colors stand out more. I'm a superhero fan at heart, so i guess i do prefer the more garish colors. He's got a cool sculpt, in any event.

By fnord12 | December 23, 2015, 2:19 PM | D&D| Link

Sanders pushes back on Clinton's attacks from the right

In my inbox from Bernie regarding Hillary Clinton attacking him for wanting to raise taxes to pay for a Medicare-for-all system:

I expected to take some heat on these fundamental beliefs during a general election, but since it is already happening in the Democratic primary, I want to address some of the critiques made by Secretary Clinton and Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal directly:

Under my plan, we will lower the cost of health care for the average family making $50,000 a year by nearly $5,000 a year. It is unfair to say simply how much more a program will cost without letting people know we are doing away with the cost of private insurance and that the middle class will be paying substantially less for health care under a single-payer system than Hillary Clinton's program. Attacking the cost of the plan without acknowledging the bottom-line savings is the way Republicans have attacked this idea for decades. Taking that approach in a Democratic Primary undermines the hard work of so many who have fought to guarantee health care as a right in this country, and it hurts our prospects for achieving that goal in the near future. I hope that it stops.

I've already mentioned this before (here, here, and here), but, like Bernie, i was annoyed to see Hillary using this line of attack in the debates. So i like seeing Bernie push back; i hope he'll bring the message beyond just his supporter email list. I think arguments that it wouldn't be feasible to implement Medicare-for-all are fair game, but to just attack it as a tax increase is disingenuous. Another example of Hillary seeming more Republican than Democrat.

In the debates Hillary also used the "why should i pay for Donald Trump's kids to go to school" line, which is equally bunk.

By fnord12 | December 23, 2015, 12:55 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Bodily functions

This reminded me of this.

By fnord12 | December 23, 2015, 7:21 AM | Comics & Liberal Outrage & Ummm... Other?| Link

December 22, 2015

Mostly True but Not

I often find that i like Politifact's articles even while i find their rating system bewildering. For example, when Politifact rated Bernie Sanders' claim about the US being the only major country without a guaranteed right to health care, i found myself nodding along through the various caveats but it sure seemed like the basic claim was True or at least Mostly True, not Half True.

And now we have the statement that Clinton used against Sanders in the two most recent debates, where after Sanders criticized Clinton's position on Libya, Clinton said that Sanders voted for it. Both times Sanders got cut off before he could respond, so i'm glad that Politifact looked into it. And again, i read the article, and per the information there, it seems clear to me that Clinton was full of shit, but Politifact rated her claim True.

As Politifact notes, "Congress never voted to authorize U.S. military action in Libya", so the reality is that there was no vote on Clinton (and Obama's) action. Sanders did vote in the Senate in favor of a non-binding resolution "strongly condemning the gross and systematic violations of human rights in Libya", but that's hardly the same thing as voting for military action to remove (kill) a dictator. And as Sanders said at the time:

Look, everybody understands Gaddafi is a thug and murderer... We want to see him go, but I think in the midst of two wars (in Iraq and Afghanistan), I'm not quite sure we need a third war, and I hope the president tells us that our troops will be leaving there, that our military action in Libya will be ending very, very shortly.

All of these quotes come from Politifact, and yet they rate Clinton's statement True. I don't get it. Especially in the context of the debates, where Sanders was criticizing Clinton's inclinations toward "regime change", Clinton's use of this vote seems to me like a cheap gotcha with no real substance to it, and the information in the Politifact article seems to back me up on that. But their rating doesn't.

By fnord12 | December 22, 2015, 7:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



So, in short: Hillary Clinton, thank you for using OpenSecrets. Next time, just call us, maybe.

By fnord12 | December 22, 2015, 7:52 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

December 21, 2015

Type V Horde

When picking out figures for each batch of the giant pile of Reaper Bones that i got from the Kickstarter, i tried to resist the impulse to paint all the really cool figures first, because i knew that would leave me with a ton of figures that i would never want to paint. On the other hand, since i knew it would take literally years to paint them all, i tried to prioritize some of the better figures and the ones that would be immediately useful to my D&D campaign. So it was a balancing act, and it seems to be one that i've ultimately failed, because when i look through the remaining figures i'm less than inspired. So it's going to mostly be adventurers and grunt monsters for now on. Which, to be clear, is very useful in the long run. It's just not as fun to sit down and paint a bunch of fighters and goblins as opposed to, say, Cthlulu or the Jabberwocky.

These two figures weren't supposed to be a set (as far as i know), but i noticed they wore armor and had long luxurious hair, so i thought they could work as a pair of NPC twins.

The figure on the left below is wearing an admiral's jacket (more visible from the back, not shown), and red and yellow seemed like a good color scheme for that. I later noticed that she has a gun on her belt, which means she shouldn't really be in my D&D campaign, so i kind of blobbed the paint over that to hide it. She was also wearing nothing but a sports bra under her jacket so i had to do a little de-nudification . And then it turned out that she's wearing these giant honking gloves, made all the more noticeable by the fact that my chosen color scheme meant that they were going to be bright yellow. Plus she's holding some giant coin or gem or something, which isn't very useful. So basically i hate her and i'm going to stick her in the back of a drawer and never use her.

The ranger figure is fine, although here is my plea to miniature makers: stop putting the figures on props. I guess that might be for people that put their miniatures in dioramas or something. For people that actually use them in games, it's a little silly. Does she drag that tree trunk around with her as she goes into towns and dungeons?

Next up, the good and bad sides of villagers. One minute they are bringing you mead; the next thing you know they are chasing you out of town with torches and pitchforks.

And here is the one special figure of this lot. She's not a figure i ever actually needed, but she is based on an official D&D creature. In the unceremonious language of 1st Edition AD&D, she is a Type V Demon. Later editions calls her a Marilith (which was actually the name of a specific individual Type V Demon in 1st Edition). I considered painting her with a color scheme to match Spiral from Marvel comics, with white hair and maybe a blue tail. But when i was a kid i had a trading/stat card set that included this creature, and it used the colors that i ended up using. I didn't du-nudify since that's the way these demons roll (or slither).

By fnord12 | December 21, 2015, 10:25 AM | D&D | Comments (1) | Link

December 20, 2015

Let them debate

A good review of last night's debate here (what, you had something better to do with your last Saturday night before the holidays?). I am very much in agreement about the moderators, who seemed to think that their role was to stifle debate instead of letting it happen. My favorite part was when the moderator interrupted Clinton so that he could formally ask her the question that she was already answering as part of a natural back and forth discussion with Sanders.

As for O'Malley, someone should have pulled him off the stage with a hook.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2015, 3:42 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

December 17, 2015

Vaguely Egyptian Horde

For this horde i mostly picked out some mummies and similar Egyptian themed characters.

For most, i used the technique i stumbled upon at the end of my last painting session, base-coating in black and then applying the color with drybrush. It worked well especially for these two skeletons. As i did once before, i went with a Skeletor color scheme instead of painting their bones a traditional off white bone color. But you can see the difference with this technique vs. the previous Skeletor; the colors are softer and more subtle here.

For the mummy i went with something a little different too, using a black/purple paint with light blue highlights instead of painting the mummy wrappings a traditional white. Also a nice cleric here, with a scarab for a holy symbol. The miniature's nose is unfortunately a little mushed.

This miniature is a little weird and i'm not sure if i love what i did with it. At first glance it's a thief/assassin character, but then it becomes clear that it is covered in mummy wrappings and is also way too emaciated to be a (living) human, so i guess it's an undead mummy assassin. Which is pretty cool. I'm just not sure i like the colors i chose.

Finally, with each group i try to do one or two miniatures that are more gruntwork. The gorilla below is from a set of gorillas that i had; this is actually the last one, so i'm finally done painting these gorillas (not that you can have too many war gorillas). And in addition to that set of gorillas, i also had an official D&D war ape that i thought i would just color like the other gorillas, but when i really looked at it i realized it had a baboon face and it turned out to be a lot more fun to paint (and it's also metal, making it less of a struggle than the plastic Bones). For what it's worth, it doesn't seem like gorillas ever made it to ancient Egypt but they did have baboons, so i remained mostly on-theme.

By fnord12 | December 17, 2015, 10:01 AM | D&D| Link

December 16, 2015

The bar to clear

Some friends are going to see Star Wars tomorrow, so i thought i would enhance their enjoyment by managing their expectations. It's gotta be better than this.

By fnord12 | December 16, 2015, 9:13 AM | Star Wars | Comments (6) | Link

December 7, 2015

Your'e Welcome

Dark Star One: Broken Alliance has solved the your/you're problem once and for all.

I know that i'm the last person that should be complaining about typos, but this is a message that appears literally 100 times in the game, so you'd think some QA person would have at least noticed once.

Probably they were too busy laughing at the AMAZING voice acting.

(All that aside, it's decent game.)

By fnord12 | December 7, 2015, 11:39 AM | Video Games| Link

December 5, 2015

Jane Austen Rewls

I've always enjoyed the dialogue and characterizations in Austen's novels, but never bothered to try to make an argument for why her novels are awesome. I don't do analysis of literature. I just like something cause i like it. Good thing there are people out there who will do that for me.

From Charlotte Brontë, who found only "neat borders" and elegant confinement in her fiction, to DH Lawrence, who called her "English in the bad, mean, snobbish sense of the word", many thought her limited to the small world and small concerns of her characters. Some of the great modernists were perplexed. "What is all this about Jane Austen?" Joseph Conrad asked HG Wells. "What is there in her? What is it all about?"

Stupid Charlotte Brontë with her stupid secret attic wife book. Bwah!

Emma, published 200 years ago this month, was revolutionary not because of its subject matter: Austen's jesting description to Anna of the perfect subject for a novel - "Three or four families in a country village" - fits it well. It was certainly not revolutionary because of any intellectual or political content. But it was revolutionary in its form and technique. Its heroine is a self-deluded young woman with the leisure and power to meddle in the lives of her neighbours. The narrative was radically experimental because it was designed to share her delusions. The novel bent narration through the distorting lens of its protagonist's mind. Though little noticed by most of the pioneers of fiction for the next century and more, it belongs with the great experimental novels of Flaubert or Joyce or Woolf. Woolf wrote that if Austen had lived longer and written more, "She would have been the forerunner of Henry James and of Proust".

Like Lorelei Gilmore, i've been wanting to read some Proust. Not for any intellectual reasons, but because Monty Python references him.

She was perfecting a technique that she had begun developing in her first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. It was only in the early 20th century that critics began agreeing on a name for it: free indirect style (a translation from the original French: style indirect libre). It describes the way in which a writer imbues a third-person narration with the habits of thought or expression of a fictional character. Before Austen, novelists chose between first-person narrative (letting us into the mind of a character, but limiting us to his or her understanding) and third-person narrative (allowing us a God-like view of all the characters, but making them pieces in an authorial game). Austen miraculously combined the internal and the external.
The novel's stylistic innovations allow it to explore not just a character's feelings, but, comically, her deep ignorance of her own feelings. Out of vanity, encouraged by the promptings of Mr and Mrs Weston, Emma has persuaded herself that Frank, whom she has never met, might be the perfect partner for her.
Her capacity for self-congratulation deceives her about even the workings of her own heart. Austen does not tell us this, as George Eliot would eloquently tell us: she simply lets us inhabit Emma's consciousness, simply lets us see the world according to Emma.
"The Passions are perfectly unknown to her," Brontë declared, sounding like a character whom Austen would have delighted in depicting. She had been recommended Pride and Prejudice by George Eliot's partner, George Henry Lewes, who was partly responsible for Eliot holding Austen in higher regard than most of the other great novelists of the 19th century. Lewes's 1859 essay in Blackwood's Magazine is still one of the most perceptive analyses of Austen's powers.

But instead of description, the common and easy resource of novelists, she has the rare and difficult art of dramatic presentation: instead of telling us what her characters are, and what they feel, she presents the people, and they reveal themselves. In this she has never perhaps been surpassed, not even by Shakespeare himself.

That said, i still love Pride & Prejudice best. The characters are great. The snarky and convoluted comments from Mr. Bennet, the ludicrously snobbish and out of touch declarations by Lady Catherine, even the nervous flutterings of Mrs. Bennet - it's gold! I've often wished i was clever enough to insult someone so politely as Elizabeth Bennet could.

By min | December 5, 2015, 12:21 PM | Boooooks| Link

If only it would permanently stop working

No one wants your Windows 10, Microsoft. And trying to push it with a task bar icon that keep coming back after i disable it has me half convinced that it's a virus, not an operating system.

By fnord12 | December 5, 2015, 10:03 AM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link

December 2, 2015

Marvel Sales


By fnord12 | December 2, 2015, 7:55 AM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

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