Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Barton Fink Vs. The Horrors Of Spider Island

* = Its true because my Grandma and Lady Christy told me so...

I didn't blog at all last week because I took an EPIC fall in my driveway on Tuesday morning.  What made it so incredible was in midair my body somehow decided it was going to deliver a Ric Flair style knee drop to the ‘face’ of the concrete.  
THIS was a bad body mechanics decision.  I thought I ‘broke’ my knee.  When I finally stopped gasping in-between some really loud and colorful language and realized I was in about 2 inches of snow on a quickly swelling set of knees I figured I had better get up.  THIS proved to be my first problem.  I’m a large guy, and that means it is a LONG way to the ground.  Not only that but I’m big, so I bring the ‘thunder’ with me.  Add to that the fact that I've had a great deal of surgery done to my already crappy joints due to poor decision making during my misspent youth spent playing sports and you have a recipe for disaster. 

When I finally crawled to the bumper of the car to use it to get up I realized my right leg was sort of a mess.  I got up, with great and horrible effort, and made my way to a place to set.  There I realized my knee was sort of ‘off kilter’.  Being a genius I moved it to get it back in line, which gave a horrendous pop and a truly amazing flash of pain throughout my body.  Luckily I had Cassandra at my side, literally at my side since I couldn't get up without help.

We somehow hobbled inside, got snow soaked clothes off, got re-clothed, and then began the process of getting comfortable and starting the icing process.  I spent the day like that, and without the help of David and some pain medication it would have been a brutal day.  I have limped through the last week plus.  It has sucked tremendously, every day it hurts, but every day it looks and feels a bit better.  If I had insurance I would have went in, honestly I would have.  Those that know me know that when I say that it means something.

I didn't though, because I don’t have insurance, and it is working out OK.  Thank everything that is full of win that I didn't break anything, and that winter is finally over.  Seriously, F’ you winter I took three falls in that damn driveway this year.  THREE FALLS!  I’m so happy to be done putting up with that crap.

So seeing as I missed a whole week I have a whole BUNCH of crap to talk about.  So much crap in fact that it can only be done by putting it into a segment I like to call….


I finally watched The Hobbit (**** ½ out of 5).  
   I for one am a big fan of the book, and feel it is required reading for or to your kids.  It is a grand adventure, beautifully written, and evocative to the minds of children.  Hides had instructed me that if I was going to enjoy the flick to forget the book and just try to take in the movie for what it is.  I was able to do that, and I actually really enjoyed the film because of it.  Is it perfect?  Nope, but few things are.  Is it fun?  Oh yes, it is a movie built for fun.  From the songs of the Dwarves, sung so beautifully, to all the little things that lay the groundwork of Lord Of The Rings, to Bilbo being our eyes and ears into this world of fantasy, to the heavy dose of action jammed into a tale that doesn't have a lot.  I liked the flashback to the Dwarves going to war with Azog the Defiler.  I loved seeing Smaug devastate the Dwarven homeland.  The scene with the Mountain Trolls was good, but could have been great.  Oh and the Gollum scene was incredible, truly something that elevated the movie in my eyes.  Hell, I even thoroughly enjoyed the excursion into the Goblin King’s kingdom.  They moved things forward, kept the pace brisk, and kept me entertained.  That’s all I really want with a movie like that, I want to be entertained.  My quibbles are minor; I didn't like the look of the Dwarves they were too model-like for my tastes, it only works for Doctor Who so that much running was lame, and the dividing of the tales into three movies sort of grated on my nerves.  Really it made me want to re-watch The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and then view this one again.  Oh and see the two other ‘Hobbit’ flicks when they come out.  THAT, in my mind, will be the true test of how good these flicks really are.

I really want Beer Cheese Soup.  Seriously.

It wouldn't be a blog of late if I didn't go through the latest series of Pathfinder Shackles & Skulls miniatures previews would it?  
First up is Selissa, who is a water Naga apparently.  I have about six Naga’s in my collection of varying forms and colors.  The thing is I've never really used on in an adventure.  I have to admit I really like this miniature though.  It has a TON of personality.  The sculpt is fantastic and could work in a lot of different ways, not just in a sea bound encounter.  It has flow and energy.  I also really like the colors chosen.  While they elicit the feeling of the sea they could also work in a jungle setting or a lost city perhaps.  As much as I’m unsure just how I’d use this particular miniature I like it enough to think of it as a MUST HAVE.  
Next up is the dreaded Shimerae, again another monster that I've never used as a DM nor have I faced as a PC.  It isn't a Displace Beast, but another nasty beast all together apparently.  Looking at it I wish the snakes on the back were a bit better integrated into the panther sculpt, I can see how that might be difficult.  The sculpt isn't overly dynamic, but it is threatening.  I like the look of the panther’s face as well as the mouths of the snakes agape and preparing to attack.  I’m just not blown away here, and I can’t think of a way I can stuff this bad boy into one of my campaigns right now.  Until I can see a better picture or figure out a use for it I think this one is going to have to be a PASS for me.  
The third preview is Arronax, who is obviously some sort of captain of a vessel.  I dig this miniature, I really DIG this miniature.  There is a mood in the stance there that is so flippin’ arrogant that I cannot WAIT to use this guy as a captain for a merchant company ship.  He’s going to be constantly sniffing something, and whenever near the PC’s he’ll talk through a perfumed piece of cloth because of the PC’s, “air of…adventure?”  I also like that he isn't using a rapier, but what looks like a Long sword   Having that nasty piece of work slung across your shoulder makes you come off as someone that people may not want to mess with.  There is just so much personality there that I can’t help but want to explore it.  If you can’t tell this is a MUST HAVE for me.
Next up is the first in a theme, it’s the dreaded ‘underwater Goblin’ the Grindylow!  This looks what you get if you take a squid, a shark, and a Goblin and mix them up, you get something GLORIOUS!  I like the soft blue in the color, I like the understated greens as well, and the wash around the nodes on the skin really help them pop.  I hope these are easy to get Commons because I’d like to get a BUNCH of them.  How much fun would it be to have the PC’s off the coast of an island full of battle hardened Goblins who force them back to their boats, but don’t follow?  When the night comes the PC’s find themselves under attack from a new sort of Goblin menace, one that boards in silence, one that surrounds the boats with ‘pet’ sharks, and one that has no problem sinking their vessel to get what they want!  Yeah, the Grindylow is a MUST HAVE for me.
Speaking of the Grindylows, the next miniature is the Brinebrood Queen.  She appears to be a Grindylow matriarch or perhaps some sort of shaman, or BOTH.  The change in the color style sort of bothers me a bit, as I’d like to have seen a unified color theme, but it isn't terrible.  The grays and browns work together well, and really give her face a much more shark-like appearance.  I like the strange ax/harpoon hybrid weapon, the strange lower body mass that erupts into tentacles, and that odd off hand that could be casting some type of enchantment.  Again it’s the color choice that hurts this miniature for me.  It doesn't change the fact that I have ‘Grindylow Fever’ and thus this is a MUST HAVE!
Last but not least, is The Whale who completes the Grindylow trinity.  This bad boy is a Large miniature, and the way it is build belies that.  It looks chunky, and slightly misshapen.  The fantastic paint choices are back in effect, which makes the paint job on the Brindbrood Queen all the more head scratching.  I love the gaping maw of teeth; they look to be slavering with hunger!  I do wish the arms had a better pose.  Right now they just seem sort of there, they aren't holding anything, they aren't in an overly threatening pose, and to me it makes the miniature look slightly odd.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to be assembling a posse of Grindylows for the 2nd D&D Group to deal with, and The Whale will be at the center of that fracas.  So you can guess that this one too is a MUST HAVE!

I’m almost done with R.A. Salvatore’s ‘The Sellsword Trilogy’, I’m diggin’ it!

Speaking of D&D type stuff, we had our first meeting of the 2nd D&D Group, well first ‘play’ meeting anyways.  I was worried because the group is full of new players, it has a theme I haven’t tried before, and I haven’t fully wrapped my head around what I want to get accomplished yet.  All that being said, it was a hoot.  There are so many bizarrely fun character moments in this group that make it the polar opposite of the 1st Group.  If the 1st Group is the Suicide Squad then the 2nd Group is the Giffen and Dematteis Justice League International.  You have a Dwarf who is a drunk always looking for a brawl, a Githzerai monk who is more than a little haughty, a Goliath barbarian who loves to be naked and to talk about his ‘onus’, a Halfling sorcerer and ship captain who is the default leader but seems to have her own ideas, an Eladrin wizard who is fascinated by everything BUT fighting, a Human samurai that seems woefully out of place, a Half-Elf druid who is slightly neurotic, and a Satyr bard who is an obnoxious rock star.  It is an eclectic group to say the least; it is also a group full of Role Players who take it to the hilt.  They made it to the island that housed the remains of the Library Of Erathis only to find that some ‘Company Men & Women’ had already set up camp on the beach.  After some intense negotiations that almost led to Zack’s Goliath character having to spend the night with the group’s Captain they were able to secure some supplies and head inland.  
This led to some dinosaur fighting, which I thought was SUPER fun.  I ran them up against some Velociraptors after sort of tricking them into thinking they were going to be dealing with an Ankylosaurus.  The ‘Raptors used some hit and run tactics, which worked well until the party sort of figured out their roles in the group and then they handed me my ass.  It was cool, and a very good first encounter.  I then threw a social encounter with some Lizardfolk at them, where they worked as a team and talked rather than fought.  This led to them making allies with this tribe, and an opportunity for me to do a TERRIBLE Japanese accent and speak broken English.  In the end they realized that the ruins were inhabited by a Dragon and that there was a reason all the other expeditions hadn't come back.  I thought it was a rousing success and I’m really excited to see how they handle what I’m putting together next.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 2nd half of the KU vs. UNC game the other night, the third installment of the Roy Williams classic.  I do have to admit I couldn't watch the first half.  I wasn't freaking out as I just don’t think Roy can beat KU, but that 13 point deficit had me nervous.  Honestly, I miss Roy.  
      Don’t get me wrong I’m glad he has his ‘dream job’, and I’m insanely happy with Bill Self being the coach for KU, however Roy will hold a special place in my heart.  KU woke up in the 2nd half and just toyed with CarolinaTOYED with them.  It made me pine for Roy a little less.  I've watched a ton of March Madness thus far and I’m very excited for the next four days as they should be really fun to watch.  I just hope Coach Self can have the ‘Hawks ready to roll for two halves instead of one.

-     I just like typing Grindylow(s)!

I’ve been selling my Heroclix on E-bay.  It has been a mixed bag thus far.  I've sold five lots for just about $600.  However it’s frustrating because I can’t touch almost $500 of it right now as Paypal is holding it till my stuff is delivered.  I still have at least another 5 lots to sell as well.  This time I’m going to open it up to international buyers, and just try to get these things sold.  Thank you to David for all your help, without you this stuff would be still sitting in my basement.  I have to admit I was sort of sad when I shipped out Galactus this week.

My knee is killin’ me right now.

Have you seen Kimberly Kane as Wonder Woman?  
Well there ya go, never say I never gave you nuthin’ interweb(s).  Is it wrong that Porn can get Superheroes right when mainstream media can’t?  She looks perfect as Wonder Woman here.  The outfit is dead on, she looks tough, the bracelets look worn, and there is a sexiness factor there as well.  ‘Cause ‘duh’ its Porn.  See that’s the thing, I watched the Batman ’66 Porn, the knock off of the old Batman T.V. Show, and it was amazing.  I wanted to skip the sex because it came off as a lost, fantastic episode of the old TV show.  Anywho I just thought this was a kick ass picture that was an almost perfect representation of the Amazon Warrior.

     The other night David had us meet his new friend who is a gal, BattlinBarb.  After a nice dinner out at our local pizza gorgin’ establishment we adjourned to our house and watched an amazing documentary, ‘The Wonderful & Wild Whites Of West Virginia’ (**** ½ out of 5).  
I want to go on and on about this film and how F’Ning crazy it is, about how it glorifies ‘outlaw’ culture, about how the Whites are strangely reminiscent of my own family tree in spots, and about how this film is completely enthralling.  HOWEVER, that would mean that you are just reading about it from my perspective, and this is a film that has to be viewed.  YOU NEED TO SEE THIS!  It is funny, disturbing, heart breaking, bubbly, and incredibly sad.  Seeing how these folks live, and how they survive is fascinating and stomach turning at points.  The complex interpersonal relationships, the ‘who’s who’ of their world, and how those things can violently break down will leave you stunned.  There is a ‘no chance’ feeling that pervades the film that left me a little shook when I sat down and thought about it.  Beyond the ‘BWAHAHAHA!’ laughs of its insanity there is an underlying sense of doom for the family that really made the movie effective.  I seriously cannot recommend this film enough.  GO SEE IT!       

I need some huggin’.

Dungeon Crawler Fantasy Miniature Kickstarter has met its goal already!  So the Kraken is happenin’!  In fact they've already cruised on and achieved their next goal, the Firbolg Skeleton in its pre-painted form.  So we are on to the Peryton.  
As you can see here, in the completed form the wings have a new shape to them that is really cool.  I already dug the stance, that starving almost charging body dynamic.  It looks great.  I for one LOVE the blue and black paint mixture in the wings.  I love the hue of the horns and how they are different from the teeth and talons.  Here are some more photos to hopefully get you enticed to support Gifted Vision and this Kickstarter in particular.  Take another gander at The Kraken, it is gorgeous!  
The paint job is outstanding AND it matches the company’s previous tentacle line, SO I’ll be getting a bunch of tiny tentacles to supplement the big ‘uns.  The paint on the eyes really is fantastic.  They are black enough to be realistic, but there is that glare of light, of malevolence, that makes me desire to make this the centerpiece of a campaign.  I also love the small touches, the textures, the small color changes, and the attention paid to that gaping maw.  It’s just a wonderful miniature and I can’t wait for mine to arrive.  

Here’s another look at the Firbolg Skeleton, and the Medium sized miniature next to it provides a size comparison.  This sucker is BIG!  I've stated before that I really like how they packed a TON of detail into this miniature.  The armor, the cloth, the bones, and the weapons are all just loaded for bear in detail.  I thought about getting a ‘Natural’ (i.e. unpainted) version just to try and paint, but I realized I’m slightly intimidated by the complexity.  So I was super happy when the Kickstarter surpassed the pre-painted level for this sucker.  

Last up is another look at the incredible BontimothWOW!  That pre-painted DDM beside it is a Large miniature.  The Bontimoth dwarfs it.  And once again it will sport a paint job that will jibe well with the DCM tentacles ‘vine’ so you can add smaller nastier tentacles to any encounter that has this monstrosity in it.  As much as I can’t wait to see the painted version of the Firbolg Skeleton I think I might be more stoked to see just what the Bontimoth comes out looking like.  There is some serious potential in there for something special.  I know, I know I’m SHILLin’ like mad here, but I like supporting smaller companies.  Not to mention I own some of their work already and have been blown away.  It’s just a great company that deserves the attention and the opportunity to fill a niche’ in the miniatures market with their amazing products, so GO FORTH AND PLEDGE!

I’m thinking I’m going to bust out some WWE ’13 tonight.  I feel like hitting someone with a chair.
I really thought that the last episode of the Podcast was exceptional.  First off, Cordell was a fantastic guest and it was really cool to get him to talk about things that he NEVER opens up over.  Secondly, I think it served as a nice reminder that while David and I are ‘fun’ together we are smokestack lightenin’ when we can pull a guest in our wake.  Lastly, the format that we took from the accumulation of Dewey e-mails was really fun.  It was such a good time I've been bugging the crap out of David about when we are going to get back into the studio and knock out another one.  Hopefully soon…
It’s going to be in the 50’s on Sat.!  SUCK IT WINTER!  Time to hold onto your shorts, Spring is here!

I think that about catches us all up…I think…

“Shut up, don't pass the blame
The same god-damn thing just the name's have changed
On the day you were busted your forgot the line
Don't do the crime if you can't do the time
An animal's acting instinctively
Glorified murderer, insanity
Do you think I'd kill you just count to one
You're the coward, with the gun

Yeah, you thought you knew me
Yeah, you hardly knew me
You don't know me
I know I shouldn't care
My crazy senses of right and wrong that can't be made to break this,
break this, break this

I see something wrong and fix it with my hands
I walk a thin blue line, this cross I came to bear

So now you're dead well wha' dya know
And am I sorry no, I don't think so
They wanted sympathy now that's a bit much
How much did you show, how much
Take the value for one human life
And place it all right down on a roll of the dice
And a one, two, three for the pain you bring
I'm the bird without the left wing

Yeah, you thought you knew me
Yeah, you hardly knew me
You don't know me
I know I shouldn't care
My crazy sense of right and wrong that can't be made to break this,
break this, break this

I see something wrong and fix it with my hands
I walk a thing blue line, this cross I came to bear

Random acts of senseless, random acts of senseless
Random acts of senseless, random acts of senseless

I see something wrong and I fix it with my hands
I walk a thin blue line, this cross I came to bear
I see something wrong and I fix it with my hands
I walk a thin blue line and I'll be the one who laughs when,
You die”

* = Rumor has it that the Reaper Bones Kickstarter is starting to ship this week. So that means I'm less than 4 weeks away from holding this amazing miniature in my hands!

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