Monday, April 21, 2014

Hills Run Red Vs. God Made Them, I Kill Them


Have you have ever wanted something so badly that it consumed you?  To have something that is so important to your idea of having a ‘complete’ life just repeatedly elude your grasp makes life feel fickle.  I find myself never wanting to be judged by the societal norm on most things in my existence, but even today at my age there are certain things, certain events that I really want to occur.  Events that if they don’t would make life feel a little less complete.

There is no rhyme or reason why these things don’t occur.  They don’t tangibly make my life poorer for not happening; I think it is more a matter of it not reaching the potential that I formulated in my head.  Not being THAT version of myself that I truly aspire to.  You can wish in one hand and poo in the other and you’ll know which will fill faster.  Yet at the same time when you try for something, when you start exploring all possibilities, when you work at it, when you do all that you currently can, and it still doesn’t happen it is emotionally exhausting.

To watch someone else going through that process with you, to have them want in a way that is wonderful, powerful, and at times slightly terrifying only to have that desire remain unfulfilled can break you.  It can literally steal joy from your heart and soul.  You begin to doubt yourself, you end up doubting the other person, and in the end you can find yourself wondering whether maybe you are somehow just unworthy of having that joy, that particular life experience.  As if somehow the karmic scales are balanced against you. 

They aren’t.  No matter how many tricks your mind plays on you, no matter how many disappointments, how many setbacks, or how many mistakes prevent you from getting that thing you truly want there is always a tomorrow.  There is always another opportunity.  There is always another method.  There is always something.  Always.  You just need to keep digging, keep marching forward, keep trying everything, and never cease.  We just sometimes need to be reminded of that, sometimes by ourselves and sometimes by someone who Loves us.

Vague?  Yes.  True?  Yup.

Anywho, let’s talk some…


-         - Well I never got that call back from the potential job, and no that above is not about that.  However, I was informed by someone who knows one of the owners that I’m in the final running.  Waiting is not something I’m especially good at.  In fact, I’m pretty terrible at it, but I have no other options at this moment.
-          I reread the first volume of Strangers In Paradise this weekend, and had forgotten just how fantastic it is.  Truly a wonderful read.
- Sunday we had our first ever Easter gathering with Friends.  THE Karl, Kedrin, Magic Mike, Randi, & Casual Doug joined Cassandra and I for what turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day.  I fired up the grill around 11am and didn’t close it for good until around 5pm.  I don’t think my little grill has had that much meat on it ever.  I rubbed & slow grilled some pork rib tips for a few hours and then transferred them to finish in a crockpot with some Coca-Cola.  We followed that up with two pieces of Salmon that we brined for a bit, which turned out wonderfully.  We through some Laotian Sausages and Cactus on after that.  Yeah, that’s right Cactus.  It tastes like green chili’s you just have to roast it till it’s not slimy anymore.  It didn’t hurt that we brushed it with bacon fat.  Then came the actual meal meat; Jerk chicken breast and marinated rabbit.  That’s right, for Easter we ate rabbit.  I’d never cooked rabbit alone, but when I was a kid my Grandfather used to deep fry it, and it was delicious.  I had trepidations about trying to pull this off, as it is a SUPER lean meat, has a reputation for being delicate, and can end up being VERY dry.  I really worked hard with my marinade and then the basting to keep it moist.  I kept the heat around 275 with a LOT of smoke from some hickory chips and a chunk of apple wood.  Beneath the cool side of the grill I kept a drip pan and filled it with apple juice.  Once those got about where we wanted them we through on some amazing burgers that Magic Mike brought, and then the steaks that Mike and Cassandra wanted.  We followed that up with some asparagus, and finally some Angus hot dogs.  We had a REDONKULOUS amount of food, and of course had enough left-overs to ensure none of us has to cook all week.  I can honestly say I was VERY happy with everything that I grilled.  There would be some small things I would change, but they are negligible and really just me wanting a level of perfection that I’m not sure I can attain with my skills.  The great thing was that the food everyone else brought blew me away.  The mashed potatoes that Randi and Casual Doug brought were friggin’ fantastic, the Gluten free cupcakes Kedrin & THE Karl brought are dangerous, Randi brought some honey mead she made that I could drink every single day for the rest of my days and never get enough, and the every generous Magic Mike brought Gluten free brownies that I had later in the night that I will also have to weary of, because they are amazing as well.  The very best part was being though was just hanging out with our Friends, laughing, enjoying the weather, sharing that with them.  Thank you to all of you for a wonderful and memorable Easter.
-  I’m just realizing how much of my arm hair I burned off this weekend…
-  Good to see that they are beefing up the NXT Tag division again, but I have to admit that I didn’t think either ‘new’ team in that match were ANYWHERE near as polished or have the upside that ‘American Wolves’ have.  Too bad I suppose that Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards look too much like ‘Indy’ guys, you know just like the WWE World Champion.  It frustrates me that the guys who can truly ‘go’, who pay their dues in the Indy’s, who are innovative, and work a style that is fun and entertaining don’t get a gig with the ‘E’ because they are 6 ft or under and don’t look like a body builder.
Is it time for the CHIKARA season premier yet?
Speaking of wrestling, I finally finished PWG’s Mat Rushmore ’14 (**** out of 5).  I know I talked a bit about it already, so I’ll stay brief.  The Main Event between Kyle O’Reilly and the PWG/Ring Of Honor Champion Adam Cole (“BABY!”) was fantastic.  They played up the fact that they broke into the business together where a Tag Team, ‘Future Shock, for years before their break up.  So they went with the clich√© of no one knows that guy like their former partner, but they made it work.  I also thought having O’Reilly move from MMA submission to submission was not just fluid but oddly beautiful to behold.  Add into that the fact that Adam Cole is a modern day Ric Flair style heel that the fans loathe, but respect so much for the quality of his craft that cannot help but enjoy his work and you have the ingredients for some special.  I’m not sure this encounter was as good as the match they had when O’Reilly turned heel in Ring Of Honor and knocked Cole’s teeth out in what was a blood bath, but it was artistically a better match and thoroughly enjoyable.  Then the finish hit.  I’m all for a clusterf*@k ending that helps a heel retain, but that generally doesn’t happen in PWG, CHIKARA, New Japan, or Ring Of Honor.  I was slightly irked, UNTIL Excalibur and ‘Sexy Chucky T’ the Kentucky Gentleman Chuck Taylor mentioned on commentary about what is ‘Best For Business’ then I realized what a meta moment I was witnessing.  PWG is trolling WWE who is trolling the Indy Wrestling scene.  TROLL OFF!  It was beautiful.  In fact next to CHIKARA, PWG’s Excalibur and his rotating cast of wrestlers on commentary are the most fun folks to listen to call a match.  So after that very meta and entertaining moment the Faces emptied out and ran Mat Rushmore off of course.  What surprised me is the fact that the guy who got on the mic and defended PWG was a relative new comer in Johnny Gargano.  Gargano has been a fixture in CHIKARA and has been a Dragon Gate U.S.A. champion for what seems like an eternity, but has only been in PWG for less than a year.  For him to get the ‘stick’ and then call out Adam Cole for match was not only slightly odd, but is completing what is a HUGE push for him in that company.  They’ve already had him make both Kevin Steen and Rodrick Strong tap out to the ‘Gargano Escape’, and have had him play the plucky, take no crap Baby Face in his appearance, but to have usurped the spot that I really thought they were grooming O’Reilly for truly surprised me.  To PWG’s book genius credit though, they immediately gave us an O’Reilly Vs. Gargano moment with Kyle telling Johnny that when he wins the belt O’Reilly gets the first shot at it.  I have to say that much like CHIKARA, PWG NEVER disappoints, and I look forward to the next event I can track down and watch.
Movie-A-Thon this Friday, I’m excited.
- Zack Attack had an emergency so we didn’t get to record our episode of Antagonist Relations last week.  We were going to talk Failure, something I excel at.  This week is such a mess that I don’t think we’ll get one scheduled and recorded, however that might be a good thing.  He can get two more sessions of Planescape in and we have 2nd Group this coming Sunday.  I really want to have it fresh in my mind the ‘Good, the Bad, & the Ugly’ of what we accomplish as DM’s.  I think that sitting down and discussing what we see as each other’s weak points in running, what we see as our failings will only make us, and anyone who listens, more insight and better opportunities to tighten up their games.  And honestly, I just like talking D&D with Zack.
Insecurity Blanket Podcast this Wed., we are talkin’ T.V. shows, you’ve been warned!   
I didn’t quite make it to finishing four miniatures this week, but I did finish two more Orcs this weekend.  The dry brushing really makes them pop.  I am getting better at taking my time and working hard to give every miniature I’m working on a look that makes me happy.  I’m already starting to think about my ‘Four’ for the week.  I have one more Orc that doesn’t need that much work, and I think I want to try and start hammering out some ‘dandy’ style warriors with Burgundy Red, Royal Purple, and asphalt Black being the three main colors.  That, or perhaps going with a color scheme that goes with the Pathfinder Eagle Knight that I picked up to help build a force around that piece.  And I need to keep plugging away on my Bones Giant Skeleton, because that damn thing is over half way done and I really want to use it in one of my Groups.
Thursday is 3rd Group & Sunday is 2nd Group, and I’m all prepped.  May wonders NEVER cease!
Speaking of Groups last Friday I got all caught up on the things that I have to get done, but had to stay awake and keep my brain from rotting out of my head.  Inspired by the Electric Six song “Bleed The Artist” I decided to try and construct ‘The 99 Rooms Of The Blind Pharaoh’s Palace Tomb’.  As of the end of the day on Friday I was about halfway done.  I am going to try and finish it today.  The nice thing was I put it out there that I am happy enough with this that I want to run it, and have already received some interest.  In addition, Magic Mike had the brilliant idea of me coming up with the PC’s and then having the players get them randomly and then do all the trading, bribing, negotiating, etc. in order to get what they want.  I think I might go that route.  I’m also going to set this in the world where all my games take place, here is the ‘tease’;
It has been over a 1,000 years since the Empire of Erom feel to Pasha Bathes-In-Blood’s mad scheme to tear a whole in the fabric of reality to the abyss to summon her master, the Demon Prince Yeenoghu.  The empire did not fall in a day, it took over a year for the Demon spawn, Gnolls, and other servitors of Yeenoghu to defile and destroy what the Eromians had built.  Prince Kurin’s lands were one of the last bastions to fall.  He had held off the horde for months, but with provisions and morale rapidly dwindling and their enemies like an unceasing storm Kurin went mad.  In his final battle on the walls of his home city of Kubat he was struck blind by a Gnoll shaman’s curse.  No longer able to witness the atrocities being committed around him he ordered a full retreat towards his palace and tomb.  In the aftermath he had the last of his people ushered into his massively constructed Palace Tomb, where he sealed them in.  There were none who escaped to tell the tale of what took place within those walls.  The city was sacked and burned.   The victorious fiends revealed in this victory for three days.  As night fell on the third a scream rang out from within the Tomb itself silencing the invaders and running cold even the vilest Demon’s blood.  Within the hour the sacking army retreated from the ruins of the city leaving the towering Palace Tomb.  It was said that the last to leave was the Demon, Yurig who had blinded Prince Kurin.  On the broken wall of the city he scrawled, “Here lies the Kingdom Of The Blind Pharaoh, may his damnation be viewed by all…”  As Yurig’s band broke off and headed North East, toward the Jade Isles, away from the main force as a sand storm erupted and swallowed Kubat.  The only true remains of the city were the broken wall with the warning scrawled on it, and the barred entrance to the Palace Tomb and a low, sad keening emanating from beneath the sand…
The Dungeon will be on an Island south and east of ‘The Maw’, and south of the Jade Isles.  This also allows me to make Yurig one of the 21 Demons who stole the scrolls from Jake’s family in 4th Group, makes the setting applicable to 2nd Group’s wanderings.  In fact I might have them show up to it after the fact looking for a clue only to find that whoever the PC’s are who play through have already raided it.  Who knows!  I just like the idea that it is another place on my world map that is now filled in.
THE Karl, you and I should sit down sometime soon and hammer out that map of the Known World you wanted.
I ordered some Pathfinder Battles and some of the new Mage Knight minis off of Ebay a few weeks ago and they finally came.  I have to say that I got a damn fine deal for 99% of them, and although I had to glue three of them back together, I was VERY happy with what I purchased.  The Gorilla King and Baphomet both are just fantastic looking, but there were a few other pieces that really caught my fancy and will be getting some serious ‘screen time’ in one or more of my games’.  The Pathfinder Orcs along with the Mage Knight Orcs, which work decently together in look, have inspired me to paint my Bones Orcs in that style.  I have so many different style of Orcs that I’ve decided that is really just going to boil down to Orc tribes or ethnicities within the race.  That way I can keep using my DDM Orcs, my Warhammer Orcs, and my strange offshoot Orcs from like Alkemy, that Russian company I got a box from, or even from Heroscape.  They are just going to be the various branches of the Orc Family Tree; 
o   DDM Orcs – These would be my most plentiful models, so perhaps they are the default for most of my Orcs.  There are certainly variations in this grouping as well, but nothing too severe.  These are my Orcs of the north west, and the central part of the continent, they spread as far as to the Teeth Of Gruumsh Mountains.
o   Dungeon Command D&D Orcs – The Dungeon Command Orcs are bit more long of limb, look a bit more ape like compared to the DDM Orcs.  Unless I get a few more of these guys, which would require me finding a few more box sets of this army on the MEGA cheap, then I think this is going to be more of either an ‘Elite’ unit of Orcs or perhaps even its own backwoods hillbilly type of familial group.
o   LotR Orcs/Goblins – I don’t have a lot of these, most of them are rebased from the old Sabertooth Games pre-paint mini game or the Wizkids version.  I like the fact that they all look different, and I mix the Uruk-Hai, the Orcs, and the Goblins together.  I’m thinking that these guys will be the experiments of either some Orc Shaman, or perhaps some Wizard who has done some mad grafting of other monster traits/parts, or even Orcs touched by the Far Realm.  Otherwise this small contingent again will be its own thing.
o   Alkemy Orcs – I don’t have a lot of these guys either, and most are unpainted.  I think what I’m going to do though is keep in them in that light grey to greenish-grey tint and use them as the original indigenous Orc of the Jade Isles.  They have been hunted to near extinction by Hobgoblins, Frost Giants of the Frozen Wastes, and the Humans of the Isles.   
o   Pathfinder Orcs – The skin color is a bit bright in the first set, but I like the look.  The newest Orcs I’ve gotten though have looked fantastic.  I maybe have ten of these guys overall so their number is limited and I’d have to supplement it.  I’m thinking these might be my Southern Orcs.  The Orcs that raid the coast, and keep trade from Shadowspire to Dunnsmouth from being big business.
o   Bones Orcs – I haven’t painted any of these and have about 25 of them.  I think they would easily take the paint color or palate of the Pathfinder Orcs, so they will supplement their number.  They are a bit bigger, and have sort of tiny heads, but if I use them as the rank and file troops I think that’ll work just fine.
o   Mage Knight Orcs – These are one of the more difficult to categorize as some of them are just downright goofy, however some of the new Mage Knight sculpts are really rock solid.  I think they fit better in theme and style with the Pathfinder/Southern Orcs.  I don’t have many of these guys, so I think that they will work as specialists in the larger forces.  They also give me some flexibility in Encounter building.
o   Warhammer Orcs – These are my Tanurruk Orcs, or Orc with Demonic blood.  They are bigger, smarter, and nastier than most other Orcs.  They speak in a cockney accent, they are ruthless but savvy and for the most part raid, pillage, and pirate ‘The Maw’.  Captain Cracktusk and his flotilla are one of the main potential problems that 2nd Group will have to deal with as they increase in level.
o   Heroquest/Advanced Heroquest/Warhammer Quest Orcs – These would be the dull witted underling, crossbred Orcs of the Warhammer Orcs.  Because of the older style of when they were made they have a bit of a goofy look compared to their more ‘modern’ Warhammer cousins.  So these Orcs are the results of Tanurruk’s breeding with normal Orcs.  While they aren’t as smart as their parents they aren’t quite as dull as their cousins on the continent.  I don’t have many of these guys so I’m thinking they may all be Cracktusk’s offspring.  Sort of his idiot children that he’s trying to keep in the ‘Family Business’, but realizes they are so beneath his machinations and plans that he uses them as cannon fodder.  That way if they die it isn’t a big loss.
o   Russian Orcs – I can’t remember the name of the company that made these guys, but they are a Russian company and I purchased them off of Ebay.  I currently only have about 3 out of 20 painted.  These are going to be my Orcs of the Frozen Wastes.  Once they were like the humans of the Frozen Wastes and were the slaves and fodder of the Frost Giants of the Wastes.  However after proving to be unpredictable and hard to control they were cast out onto the tundra to die.  Gruumsh instead blessed them with a resistance to cold, a larger frame, and vicious streak that drive them to wage a guerilla war against their former Frost Giant masters.  These Orcs would have purple tribal markings on their skin, as this is how Zack painted one of the archers, and I REALLY dug it.
o   Heroscape Orcs – I have no idea what to do with these strange blue skinned Orcs that ride Dinosaurs.  Seriously.  I have NO idea.  I don’t really have very many of them, but dammit they RIDE DINOSAURS!  I’m thinking of repainting their skin color.
o   Pig-Faced Orcs – My rank and file of these bad boys are made up of Gamorrean Guards from the Star Wars pre-paint line.  I was able to get a large amount of them for next to nothing.  I just wish they were a bit bigger in scale.  As their Elite and Leadership contingent I picked up some fantastic Otherworld Miniatures off Ebay that were already painted to a CRAZY high quality, and I got them dirt cheap as well.  The Pig-Faced Orcs of the Teeth Of Gruumsh Mountains believe that they are the only ‘true’ sons of Gruumsh and kill and eat any of their cousins that they can capture.  They generally live in the ‘Shallows’ of the Underdark and emerge from the mountain range on both sides to raid and acquire slaves/food.
o   Tiny Orcs – The vast majority of the assorted Orcs that I’ve gotten from Todd & Mary as well as from an unknown source are unpainted.  Their scale is so off that I was really unsure what to do with them, but now I’m thinking of trying to get them painted and make them Pygmy Orcs that are on different Isles around the world.  And of course because they are Pygmy’s that would mean that they are by default cannibals.  It could be really fun to have a group of PC’s stumble upon these little guys who haven’t seen other humanoids in maybe 1,000 years.  Perhaps they are thought to be Gawds upon their arrival.  OR perhaps Beloc has already arrived, subverted their leadership and wants to steal the idol from the PC’s only after they have avoided being crushed to death by a giant rolling boulder.  Oooops, I’ve said too much!
Sorry, about the odd tangent there.  SO, I really need to get on selling all my Sci-Fi/WH40K crap so I can get the additional funds necessary to get all the other minis that I’d like out of the last three Pathfinder sets.  ORCS!
I have an upset stomach, and that is no way to spend a Monday.
It is a crazy busy week for me.  I should hear a ‘yeah’ or ‘nay’ on the job situation, Monday night Cassandra is gone and I’m going to paint, Tuesday night is a ‘Date Night’ for us, Wed. night is the Podcast, Thursday night is 3rd Group, Friday night is a Movie-A-Thon where what we are going to watch has been co-opted by my lovely wife, Saturday we have nothing, Sunday is 2nd Group, and then Monday is the triumphant return of Team TrollStrong as we start ‘Burnt Offerings’.  SO much stuff!

Man, this was WAY longer than I expected.

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