Thursday, September 30, 2010

Junk spaceship model

I got the kids involved in building models out of junk with me one weekend. 

Here's the model I worked on myself...first a few finished shots...

Kinda reminds me of a Matrix vehicle. 

Here are some pre-paint shots...

Hot glue, plastic bits, a container from the recycling bin, and spray paint. This one turned out pretty nice after painting...but it looks much better in person than in my photos. Flash highlights all the imperfections.

What I learned from this project was that it's useful to mount your base piece (in this case, a lemon juice container) on some kind of stand to start with, and that hot glue leaves lots of spiderweb-like strands that are super annoying.

This project was quick and satisfying. It's kind of impressionistic and didn't require any planning. Now, if you wanted clean joints and precise details, then you'd have to work in a much more precise way.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chloe's banana hobby is out of control

This is not her Halloween costume, by the by. No, she wants to be a table for Halloween.
She started collecting bananas on our Germany trip. Below is her version of cannibalism.

She purchased this costume with her own money at Goodwill.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lou the clown

This is a character I've been drawing for some years now, in whiteboard form.

Chile Rellenos

Chile rellenos are something I've enjoyed but considered too complicated to make at home. But I've been  buying chiles lately, and after family friend Marie showed me how to roast them, I found myself with roasted chiles and some taco-seasoned ground beef handy. So I mixed the ground beef with grated cheese, stuffed it into the chiles, and dredged them in seasoned flour and eggwash, frying them in a small pan. I didn't try to deep fry them, just used a half inch of oil. It didn't take long, and they were delicious...and I didn't have to so much as crack a cookbook.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that my wife is a font of knowledge when it comes to cooking.
"Do I do the egg wash first or the flour?"
"Flour, egg wash, and then flour again."

Sadly, I couldn't convince my capsaicin-phobic family to try 'em, but they were delicious. I only wish I'd had some cooked chicken handy. Next time I'll try that for a filling.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Yes, Hitlercorns. Warning, swearing unicorns.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Slowly increasing the wordcount

This month I decided to go from 500 words a day to 750 words a day. So far so good. It makes me stretch just a little. Maybe I'll go to 1k/day in December.

It sort of cuts down on the odd hobby stuff. I still do crafts and whatnot, but I can only do what I can do in addition to family and writing. I'm generally happy with that choice: at the least, I'm producing art every day. Seems like wordcount alone isn't enough: I have a tendency, I think, to drag out projects without a deadline. My current project always has something else wrong with it that needs to be fixed. But more writing certainly helps.

Chinese chess

I got this Chinese chess set for a dollar at a garage sale yesterday. I found some rules here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spiderman on Broadway

Look, I can't explain it. I just heard about it: Spiderman on Broadway.


Writing and guilt

Here's one way to get yourself to write every day:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Green Arrow _Quiver_

I don't know much about Green Arrow, but I know what I like. Rather, I'm growing to like this character the more I read about him. The renditions of him I've seen recently have a nice attitude, a  sense of humor and yet a social consciousness. This book, which is more or less about bringing back the Green Arrow of old, went more metaphysical than I expected, but now I don't know why I didn't expect that....if you're bringing back someone who's dead, well, you're going to need to go metaphysical. And the DC Universe has a deep library of supernatural characters to draw on. I don't know much about them either....I still feel like I'm learning my way around the DCU. But I'm more and more interested.

Etrigan the demon makes an appearance. Speaks in rhyme. Fun stuff.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

_Ender's Game_ graphic novels by Christopher Yost

I recently revisited Ender's Game via these graphic novels. They were a pretty good rendition of the book (at this remove; it's been years since I read the novel).
I was impressed with how quickly I became invested in the characters. I can't evaluate how that would work if I hadn't read the novels, though. I note that my 13-year-old son, while enjoying them, did not seem particularly excited about them. Hard to say, though -- he's less and less willing to SHOW excitement. :)

In any case, I thought these were well worth a read.

Stormtrooper photos from Flickr

Here are a couple of interesting stormtrooper costume photos I bumped into.

Samurai Stormtrooper

Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Read an RPG Book in Public Week Coming Again

 Read an RPG Book in Public Week is back....

  • September 26th - October 2nd
  • February 28th - March 6th
  • July 25th - 31st

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A little thought about corn syrup

I thought this summary of corn syrup and diet from Maggie Koerth-Baker (of Boing Boing) was extremely interesting. Her main points are: It's a sweetener, not the devil, and its main impact comes from its cheapness allowing producers to put it in a lot of our food. Hence we need to be reducing our sugar intake, not freaking out about corn syrup. Check it out for a cogent summary and links to more detail.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Puzzle game "Puzzgrid" based on UK game show

This thing looks pretty addictive. Figure out the links between words in the grid.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Green Arrow Year One...script by Andy Diggle

I was looking for comic book scripts online, to get an idea of how to write one, and this one caught my eye. It's a good read, and now I want to read the whole series (this is the script for issue 1 of a 6-issue series).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wedding surprise: To Life

Apparently I really really need to watch Fiddler on the Roof. This video documents a wedding reception surprise from groom to bride....and a pretty dedicated family: everyone involved met secretly and practiced for a month.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

_Murder City_ by Charles Bowden

This was the scariest book I've every read, and that's saying something after reading The Corner last year. But I called that one the saddest book I'd read.

This book makes graphic the simply vast number of people who are being murdered in Mexico in general, and in Juarez in particular. There were many striking things about what Bowden says in this book, but here are a few that stuck out for me:

  • People like to say that it's just drug cartel people killing each other, but in fact people of every description are being killed.
  • Cops are being killed. But then you learn that lots and lots of cops are compromised. Now, imagine trying to be a clean cop in that environment.
  • The US gives money to the Mexican army to fight the drug war. The Mexican army goes around shooting and beating cops. And collects drug money.
  • Really, the police and army are just another gang fighting for the drug money.
  • But people don't just get killed for drugs. There's a thriving and industrialized kidnapping business. A gang will keep maybe a dozen people in a house while they bleed their family of money. No one goes to the cops; the gangs are tightly connected to the cops, or ARE the cops. Nearly all kidnap victims are killed.
  • I kept fantasizing about "what if the US legalized drugs, ending the market for Mexican drugs." However, Mexico now has a lucrative local drug market, and lots of people who solve their problems by killing. There'll be no quick answer to this problem, though surely ending the US drug money would help.
  • Top cartel folks have state police as bodyguards
  • The folks doing the murdering don't really know who it is that is giving them orders.
  • The army has always been used to beat down the people, in Mexico. Imagine the US government today sending a few thousand army troops to pacify a US city.
  • If you deliver drugs, you make some money...but if it goes bad and you lose the drugs, you are charged retail price of the drugs,.... an impossible you suddenly owe more than you can you get killed. This is GOING to happen to you eventually.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kickass: Late to the party

Finally got a chance to watch Kickass this weekend. Wow. This movie was a lot of fun. It was odd the way it both pointed out all the problems with costumed crimefighting and also kicked butt.

Think about what the movie would have been like if you dropped the title character out of it and focused on Big Daddy and Hitgirl. It would have been Batman and Robin but with a father-daughter angle (which is awesome) and then there's the way they don't have Batman's reluctance to kill.

But that goes hand in hand with what makes Kickass awesome. Hitgirl's ruthless killing, just mowing people down, makes her awesome and batshit crazy at the same time.

Anyway, I just finished watching the movie a few minutes ago. These are just the first thoughts out of my head. But right now this is my favorite comic-book movie of all time.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Let's play tarot

I didn't know that tarot cards were originally used for a plain old ordinary card game. Makes sense, though, doesn't it? It's a trick-taking game with the major arcana used as trump cards. Apparently the game didn't catch on in the English-speaking world, where the cards were instead mystified and used for divination. The other fun fact I learned by reading the Wikipedia article on the tarot was that tarot divination isn't that old...just since the 18th century.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Best movie finale scene ever

And the award for most creative use of a helicopter goes to...this Bollywood scene.