Sunday, October 22, 2017

We're not in Kansas anymore...

...but maybe we should be.

I was lucky enough to see these guys live in 1983, shortly after Steve Walsh left the band. They were perhaps the best instrumentalists I had ever seen, and still are to this day. Hyper-talented. Everybody playing everything. And singing at the same time in multi-layered harmonies.

This came back to mind recently because my 13 year old daughter likes a band called Panic at the Disco. They did a cover of the song Carry on My Wayward Son for all the old dads in the audience who brought their daughters to the concert. Not a bad thought, and not a bad version. Relatively.

Panic at the Disco - Carry on My Wayward Son (2011) - Not bad for a bunch of young pups... Song starts at about 1:40.

Carry On My Wayward Son  (1976) - The real deal. Raw magnificence.

And again in 2009 - Not bad for a bunch of 60 year olds. So much for panicking at ye old disco. Steve Walsh. Kerry Livgren. Richard Williams.

No offense Grace.

OK. Some offense intended. Don't question your elders... Sometimes old school is the best school.

Hence... Miracles Out of Nowhere (43 minutes in). Old School is the best school.

I rest my case.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Standing Stones

In a D&D game, there are a few types of must-have terrain to keep in your back pocket for use as your players and their characters bumble and stumble around the world (if you are into that sort of thing...). Standing stones, obelisks, and forgotten monument stones rank high on that list.

When the mood strikes me to make something in the way of fantasy terrain, and I can't figure out something specific to do, it is an easy choice to carve up a few standing stones, monuments or forgotten altars (blood-stained perhaps...).
Standing stone and forgotten altar miscellany

These take virtually no time at all, and consist of a little bit of knife-carved foam coated with a darker gray undercoat and a light gray sponging overtop. Throw in a little dark green or light green weathering for a change of pace. Easy Peasy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sewer Tiles

What's a good Dungeons and Dragons town or city without sewers underneath, inhabited by all sorts of evil and ill-intentioned creatures? With that in mind, I have spent a little time recently finishing a modular set of sewer tiles for our games.

The tiles are carved out of 1/2 inch extruded polystyrene insulation foam board (same as most of my D&D terrain). Each piece has a 1/2 inch base layer topped by another 1/2 inch "walkway" layer. The channels are either 5 foot (one square) or 10 foot (2 square) wide, with 5 or 10 foot wide walkways alongside. Where there is no walkway it assumes "solid rock" negative space.

Step 1, after foam assembly and a black base coat, is a sponging of Folk Art brand "medium gray".
Step 1 - medium gray sponging

Step 2 is a sponging of Folk Art "dove gray", a light gray applied more sparingly than the "medium gray". You want to highlight but not totally hide the darker gray, although I admittedly still go fairly heavy-handed on this step. Lighter colors "pop" better on the table during gameplay, and what might look more realistic up close from an artistic point of view often looks dark and dreary during games...
Step 2 - light gray sponging

Step 3 is a little bit of spot dry brushing of Folk Art "buckskin brown" (this is a nice rich medium brown color no longer stocked by the local Michaels stores - sad face...). This just aims to give a bit of a muddy feel, and to break up the potential monotony of gray.
Step 3 - a brown dry brush in spots

Step 4 is to retouch any "water" areas and edges with black, as you will unavoidably sponge some gray onto these areas.

Step 5 is to apply a brush-textured coat of gloss Mod Podge to the water areas to give them texture before painting. This is important, as you will be relying on the raised texture of this first Mod Podge coat to give something for steps 6 and 7 to catch on. The dry brushing in the next two steps will not be as effective if there is not some texture for them to pick up and accent.

Step 6 is to lightly dry brush some "buckskin brown" onto the water areas. This needs to be done streakily (is that even a word?) and sparingly - you are looking for hints of a sludgy nasty greenish-brown water, not an outright brown water.

Step 7 is to drag a heavy dry brush coat of Folk Art "citrus green", or a similarly putrid green, over the Mod Podge texture from step 5 (this is why step 5 is so important).

Step 8 is to re-coat the water areas with another coat (or two) of brush-textured gloss Mod Podge. You can see the way I did the brush-texturing of the Mod Podge (in step 5) by how the "citrus green" dry brush caught on that texture. The important thing in steps 6 and 7 is that I was looking for some hints of brown overlaid with a good bit of putrid yellowy-green, but didn't want the end result to totally overlay the black undercoat. I was hoping for a yucky greenish-brown over a still-dark base. I think this gives that effect. It might not be everyone's idea of a D&D under-the-town sewer, but it did achieve the exact result I was looking for...
Steps 4-8: brown water, putrid green, and gloss Mod Podge

By the end of this mini project I've added enough new pieces to the ones I had made several months ago to fill a medium sized Sterilite storage container with a good variety of 5 and 10 foot sewers with 5 and 10 foot walkways, including enough junction pieces to give me good flexibility to create all sorts of layouts. [In other words, probably much more than I will ever need...]

As with the badlands terrain pieces documented a few days ago, I'm not sure how much use I will have of these pieces, but they were fun to make, and the entire project probably took less than $20 in materials and 3-4 hours of time. And most importantly, it was fun...

Monday, August 14, 2017

Glen Campbell

Music legend Glen Campbell passed away August 8 at the age of 81. I can honestly say that as a younger person, I had no interest at all (or frankly, knowledge of...) his music. Rhinestone Cowboy would be enough to send me out of the room...
Glen Campbell, earlier

But then sometimes you grow up, and your mind opens up a bit, and your musical horizons expand. My knowledge of his music is admittedly still very limited, but I can recognize that he certainly had a substantial handful of timeless classics, songs that I can now appreciate for what they are.
Glen Campbell, later

My favorite Glen Campbell song is Wichita Lineman, a song written by Jimmy Webb in 1968 (the background to which is here...a good story in and of itself)

Wichita Lineman on PBS, a wonderful version of a classic song. Lovely. Great understated guitar work, with a beautiful simple solo and a bunch of seemingly effortless fills.

...And an amazing solo version with terrific guitar work (and a very interesting arrangement) - song starts at about 8:50 after an interview.

Guitar Man with Jerry Reed.

By the Time I Get to Phoenix, and Galveston. The guitar solo on Galveston (~5:30 on) would make many modern day "shredders" blush. (Who knew?)

Lastly, Ghost Riders in the Sky with Roy Clark. Roy Clark could be a whole other post...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rivenrock Wastes Completed

Shown below are the intermediate steps and final product of the project to complete "badlands" hill terrain for either historical miniatures or Dungeons and Dragons games. [Another very recent post showed the beginnings]

After a dark brown latex house paint base coat (Behr "Swiss Brown"), each piece gets a stipple and dry brush of Craftsmart "Orange Spice". This rusty reddish brown color is intended to show only as subtle hints in crevasses, and isn't done very heavily.
Brown base, rusty red and finished piece

Next, each piece gets a healthy sponge coat of Folk Art "Camel", my go-to light tan color for terrain. A little dry brushing gets to the spots the sponge can't easily reach. I don't want an overwhelming amount of the dark brown base showing through.
Base coated, rusty red and "camel" sponge

Finally, a lighter sponge coat of a very light creamy tan (Folk Art's "Taffy") is used to highlight the edges and brighten the flat surfaces. The pieces looked a little dingy before this step but popped nicely after.
"Camel" sponge (left) without final highlight (at right)

The final project, shown below, consists of a large two-piece hill which can be used together or separate, a bunch of larger pieces, and a good assortment of smaller pieces in both 2" foam and 3/4" foam. The 2" pieces (which are most of them) give good height and mass, and the smaller pieces allow for climbing access for figures, or just smaller scatter.
Final pieces with "Taffy" light highlight

This project filled a very large plastic storage box. I'm not sure how often I will have a use for them, but the materials were cheap and the whole project only took a few hours scattered over the course of a week or so. Very easy, and now I have options other than gray rock...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Rivenrock Wastes

In the world of Myara, north of the area that our characters have been operating in, is a wilderness region called the Rivenrock Wastes. I envision this as an arid land of wind and rain carved sandstone formations not unlike the more rugged parts of the American southwest.

I don't have any terrain pieces suitable for this. But I can make some...

Once again using the Proxxon, I am able to cut pieces of 2 inch thick extruded polystyrene insulation board quickly and easily. A little knife work cleans up the basic shapes. More little bits will be made and glued (as in the back of the picture) to make two-level pieces. Finished pieces could in turn be stacked to make taller formations.
The Rivenrock Wastes - in process

Easy. Maybe the players will choose to go to a place where these can be used. Maybe not. Hard to say.

And it doesn't really matter. The project (thus far) was fun.

Florian Sky Ships

The Proxxon hot wire table has (as expected) triggered a burst of crafting creativity. One of the things I have been thinking about introducing to our D&D campaign has been an encounter with a Florian Sky Ship - a magical sky ship that looks like a seagoing ship but sails the skies of Myara. [This did happen last Friday, but that post will be on my Myaran Realms blog soon...]

Free-handing on the Proxxon makes this relatively easy. So a first attempt at something like this makes an impossible thing at least possible. Step 1 was to rough out the shape of the ship, including fore and aft raised decks, and then to add "railing" pieces made on the new toy. These are approximate (at best) in terms of serious modeling, but are fantastic in terms of creating the illusion of a Florian sky ship...
Basic Ship Shape

Step 2 was to do a basic paint job consisting of a dark brown latex house paint undercoat (the same used for my "cave" tiles), followed by a light tan dry brush of a cheap craft paint (Folk Art "camel" I think...). Before this, I scribed the lines using a pencil (shown in the first picture). After painting, the lines were highlighted by scribing them with a brown Sharpie. Like in the theater, things viewed at moderate distance need to be exaggerated to get the intended effect.
Ship with base coat of paint

Step 3 was to detail the sky ship using odds and ends I had laying around in my "bits box". A bits box is all the little leftover bits you have hanging around unused from many years of historical and fantasy miniatures gaming. Deck hatches to the below-decks levels and cargo hold were made by scribing and painting rectangles of balsa wood (in complementary but slightly different colors). The cannon is a leftover from an Empire Warhammer Fantasy kit. The captains steering wheel is a wheel from the same Empire cannon kit. The "air elemental power nodes" that power the ship are 1/2 inch wood working plugs or scratch built pieces. The chain blocking the gang-plank ramp to the main deck is a piece of jewelry chain tacked down with two black-headed map pins.
Completed Sky Ship

The beauty of the new Proxxon is that this entire crafting project took maybe two hours of time, only about a half hour of which was cutting the foam pieces of the ship. The rest was painting and detailing. With the curved lines and railing bits, this wouldn't have been possible, in any amount of time, with my old method of "sheet of foam board and a knife".

This project alone probably made the cost of the Proxxon worth it. But there are many more projects to come...

Saturday, July 29, 2017

That New Car Smell

As has been the case for each of the past couple of leases, we are nearing the end of the three year lease on Amp's current car (a 2014 CRV), went into the Honda dealership just to check out our options, and drove home three hours later in a new car...
2017 Honda Pilot

They make it very easy. Almost too easy. But we have loved the cars, been happy with the dealership, and needed to get something done by mid-September, so...there's no time like the present...

We went in looking at Pilots, which are a full sized SUV compared to the CRV, which is (I guess) a mid-size SUV. After our previous two Pilots (a 2009 and a 2012), the CRV always seemed small and light. It was a fine vehicle. Perhaps under-powered, but a fine vehicle for what it is.

The Pilot has significantly more cargo space; not an absolute requirement, but nice to have when you need it. It has lots more power. Third row fold-down seating, with comfortable space for 8, as opposed to not-always-comfortable seating for 5 in the CRV. The girls are getting bigger, and so are their friends...

Perhaps most importantly, it is a great peace of mind vehicle for me. One of the great things about the previous two Pilots was that I could rest comfortably in the knowledge that my three girls were in a good heavy tank of a vehicle. The CRV wasn't a tank. Call me silly, but I feel like a good husband and dad to know that my girls are back in a tank. And as long as we continue to frack the heck out of the North American geologic infrastructure (to our own ultimate detriment), gas prices will likely remain manageable.

The new Pilot has a black exterior with a two-tone medium and light gray leather interior. I like leather if for no other reason than that it is easier to keep clean and maintain trade-in value at the end of the lease as compared to cloth seats. Plus it's really nice (hee hee).

Anyway, a nice new ride for Mom and the kids. Yay them.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A New Toy

I've done a lot of crafting for our Dungeons and Dragons games over the last three years or so. Much of this has been carving foam board (extruded polystyrene) into all manner of dungeon terrain, cave terrain, buildings, monuments, ruins, etc...

I have done this carving either free hand with a series of knives, or with those same knives and a set of metal rulers, T-squares etc...

On the advice/recommendation of Jeremy from Black Magic Craft on YouTube, I broke down and bought a Proxxon Thermocut hot wire table. The Amazon Prime fairies delivered it yesterday (one day shipping to have it for some of the weekend), and I got to play around with it a little bit last night.
Proxxon Thermocut Hot Wire Table

Oh my gosh. Why did I wait so long to get this!?!?

The wire heats pretty much instantly after hitting the ON switch, and can cut 2 inch thick foam sheets with ease. There is an adjustable fence that can be used on two sides, and can be adjusted for any angle 0 degrees to 90 degrees. It's like a mini table saw for foam.

I have yet to spend much time doing anything with it other than the briefest of test drives, but in a matter of maybe 5 minutes last night I was able to rip several 2 inch tall strips of half-inch foam using the fence, and then freehand those strips into a number of pieces that will become ruined walls.
Ruined wall pieces - mere minutes to make!

Amazingly quick. And easy. And uniform.
Pieces would be assembled like this...

Good stuff. More to come...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ryder, 4 Months In

Warning: Gratuitous dog photos to follow.

We are four months to the day (plus 1) of being dog owners. [What were we thinking?!?!]

I think it is fair to say that we are training him (seriously?)...
Hey! That's my pillow!!

...and he is training us (for sure).
Sleepy kids...

That being said, it's hard to remember back to a time when we didn't have Ryder as a member of the family.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Moody Blues 50th Anniversary Tour

The Moodies are doing a brief North American tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of the Days of Future Passed album from 1967 (their first album). So I bought two tickets, of course, knowing that I would need to find someone to take the second seat (Amp has been to a number of these shows with me over the years, but I have exceeded her limit at this point, and am well into "if you can find someone else who wants to go, please do" territory).

John, my other non-brother brother was happy enough to go, so on a beautiful mid-July day/evening, off we went to the Mann Music Center in Fairmount Park. The Mann is a great semi-outdoor covered amphitheater with a terrific view of the Philadelphia skyline. I have great memories of shows at this venue, including my only Dire Straits concert (c. 1985/86), two different Moodies shows (including a probable 1983 show for "The Present" album), and a Mark Knopfler solo show in 2008.
Mann Music Center and Philly skyline

The show was to be in two parts, with a "greatest hits" set followed by an intermission, followed by the Days of Future Passed album played in its entirety.

I could gush at length, but the short version is that I got to see my favorite band (for the ??? time; probably 12-15 or so...) with my best and oldest friend in perhaps my favorite venue. It's hard to top that. And for a bunch of ~70 year olds, they sounded pretty darn good. For someone who has seen them so many times over the years, seeing them do some of the DoFP songs live, songs that they haven't done live since the 1960's, was pretty special.

A good day. A very good day.

I've linked some videos below, but if you search for Moody Blues 7/15/17 you can find multiple versions of most songs from the whole show...

Set List:
  1. I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band)
  2. The Voice
  3. Stepping in a Slide Zone
  4. Say It With Love
  5. Nervous
  6. Your Wildest Dreams
  7. Isn't Life Strange
  8. I Know You're Out There Somewhere
  9. The Story in Your Eyes
  10. (Intermission)
  11. Days of Future Passed album in its entirety
  12. Encore: Question and Ride My See Saw
Opening number:

I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band)
I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band)

Resurrecting the 1960's:

Dawn is a Feeling
Dawn is a Feeling

My happy place:

Nights in White Satin (with Jeremy Irons)
Nights in White Satin

End of show encore (normally the pre-encore exit song, and the encore):

Question and Ride My See Saw.

Good stuff. And thanks John.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Then and Now

Perhaps my all-time favorite picture of Julia, Grace and Gina (and there are many!!) is this one from Halloween 2005. Grace would be a little over 1 year old. Julia (bottom) would be 7. Gina would be 6.
Halloween 2005

On a whim, back in May, when the neighbors were over for dinner, we decided to recreate the picture. Same spot. Same people. Same basic pose. Same giggles.
May 2017

The carpet has changed, but the wall color is the same (which we will be changing shortly).
Ages 12, 17 and 18 (top down)

It's amazing to think that we have been friends for 20 years now, and that our kids have never known a time when they didn't know each other.

Pretty cool.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Thing 2 Turns Teen

Another thing added to the long list of "hard to believe" is the fact that Grace became a teenager a little while back.

She didn't want a big fuss for her birthday. Her one request was that she have a couple of friends over for the day, go to the mall for some shopping, and have lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. A reasonable request.
Presents and Flying Ryder

She had two of her gymnastics friends over. It was a nice day outside, and judging by the giggling, they all seemed to have a very good day.
Ryder trying to blow out candles

The Cheesecake Factory lunch went well, and they were all astounded by the number of choices on the menu. As an aside, I was at work for this extravaganza, as it was a weekday, and I have still never been to a Cheesecake Factory. Maybe some day...
Grace and friends at the mall

At the end of the day, after the other girls had gone home, the day's events got high praise from Grace: "that was a lot of fun." High praise indeed.

Welcome to your teen years, little one. Yikes.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

More Mapping Fun - Halep

With some time today between coats of wall paint and trim paint drying in the master bedroom, and 3 racks of baby back ribs cooking and needing some periodic attention, I was able to spend 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there to finish the simple town sketch for Halep, a frontier town of ~600 on the Great North Road.

A little more pondering while scribbling has resulted in:
  • A stone walled citadel controlled by the ruling noble family.
  • Fortified stone houses being built on the southern hill by the wealthier citizens, bypassing the need for the Baron to provide protection (and rent his fully-owned buildings within the citadel).
  • Middle class artisans and craftsmen banding together to start building wooden palisade walls around part of the lower town. It's a modest beginning with expansion plans for the future.
  • A fortified temple compound that is a dominant economic force in the town, extending well beyond their primary function as a place of worship for the goddess of the harvest.
  • A three or four way power struggle simmering, and perhaps soon coming to a boil.
Honestly, do I need any of this? No, probably not. But it was a fun diversion from painting, cooking and playing with the dog (all of which are fun in their own right).

Next up - the town of Forlorn, a remote town off the main road approximately 60 miles northwest into the wilderness. I'm thinking Forlorn will be perhaps half the size of this, maybe even a little less. It's in a much more remote and dangerous area. And that's about all I know of it at this point. start the mental processes percolating, who would live in Forlorn and why? What special thing or two could be there? Why would anybody who doesn't live there go there?

Sanctuary Maps - Providence

This badly lit, off-centered picture (taken at my desk during a thunderstorm), is as far as I have gotten with the map for the area around Providence in the world of Sanctuary.

Given that this was thrown together as a quick sketch of a world for a West Marches style "exploring" game, this is as far as I would go ahead of time. I wanted the framework of a region with the major geographic features laid out, but with very little detail. Depending on what the group adventuring in this world wanted to focus on, the world would develop differently.
Providence region (14 by 17 inches, at 6 miles per inch)

Since this will likely never amount to anything more than this sketch, it will end here. Most likely anyway. The few thoughts that I have about some of the locations on this map will soon fade from my memory. That being said, it was an enjoyable exercise in a specific kind of mapping style, and was a nice way to kill a couple of hours.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mapping Fun

One of the things I enjoy doing as a side-thing while doing something else (half watching a baseball or hockey game or a movie) is scribbling maps. Some of them will get used in our D&D campaign (3 years and counting). Some won't. It doesn't matter. It's fun.

I took a 14 by 17 inch sketch pad and began playing around with ideas for a new world; one which would be used in a West Marches style (episodic) D&D game. Very rudimentary map at this point. Scale is 1 inch = 24 or 30 miles (I forget which without digging for notes, which is way too much trouble...).
The world of Sanctuary

The second part of this doodling was to take another 14 by 17 sheet and expand on a specific area of the larger (first) map. In the map in the first picture, there is a town on the southwestern corner of Harlon Bay. The town is tentatively called Providence. I wanted to do another map adding some detail around that area. This map would be at a level that would be used in actually running a campaign in this world. So 1 inch = 6 miles. I've done more work on this since this picture, and will update with another picture soon.
The town of Providence and environs

Lastly, it seems likely that the players in my ongoing campaign will be heading west from their home base in the Shearingvale region in the near future. So whether or not the players will ever visit any of these places or not, I have begun sketching out some of the places in the world that exist in that direction. The below start on a map is of the town of Halep, a simple frontier town of ~600 people on the Great North Road.
The town of Halep - the first bits

The first stage is to sketch in roads, a couple of hills, the citadel and buildings on the hills, a small wooden palisaded area in town, and a fortified temple complex. The rest of the town will be hastily scattered in around these elements. [Note that it took no more than ~20 minutes of half-attentiveness while listening to a YouTube video to get to this point in the work on the map...I'm not striving for art here...and I've made lots of these simple town maps]

In breaking from the old school Gygaxian tradition that I was raised in, I will not be detailing this town down to every last building, every person, and every cow, sheep and dog. I'll have a few thoughts, and if they ever end up in this town, will be able to improvise everything else.

The entire amount of detail going into this town is (and I've made this up as I've typed it):
  • It's run by the Baron of Halep, an elderly and generally good intentioned but temperamental and erratic leader with delusions of grandeur.
  • The Baron is supportive of the Castle of the New Dawn to the north (a special location built as a safe haven for settlers attempting to resettle the far North, west of Lake Beranarr).
  • The Baron is distrustful of the elves of the realm of Kyrellia to the northwest, and by extension all elves in general.
  • The priests of the fortified temple compound of Meera (agriculture, harvest and planting) are very influential in town, and can be a source of assistance to travelers and adventurers, especially to those of the same or similar faiths. They do a lucrative side business sheltering travelers and selling equipment to adventurers.
  • There is a small wooden palisade area that most of the middle class craftsmen and artisans are crammed into for safety.
And that's it for a simple town. A half hour to forty minutes tops. Nothing more than a skeletal framework that would give me a base from which to improvise.

Anyway, more mapping updates to come, as I enjoy scribbling these sorts of things in my spare time, and have enjoyed trying to make some respectable looking world maps.

Master Bedroom

What better way to spend a 4-day holiday weekend than to repaint another room in the house. No seriously. Our master bedroom was last painted...umm..a lot of years ago. So time for a re-do.

When this room is done, the entire upstairs will be in good shape, and then I will move on to some of the first floor rooms. Office. Dining room. Living room. Family room. Basically everything but the kitchen. Then the basement bedroom. Then...

Anyway...old master bedroom walls in a pumpkin-ish orangey-brown. Ceiling already re-painted. Patched areas primed. Edges cut-in. Ready to roll the first coat.
Old Pumpkin Walls

The first coat of Medici Ivory. A second coat to come tomorrow.
Medici Ivory

Also very happy with the new triple window.
New Triple Window and more Medici Ivory

So the 4th of July will be a second coat of wall color on the two walls, two coats of baseboard trim paint on those two walls, and that will be enough for the day. The window has already had two coats of new trim paint, so at that point the ceiling and two of the walls will be completely done. All that will be left will be to do the two other walls (I have intentionally split the room into two halves, as far as planned effort goes - the second half will likely be next weekend, or maybe nights this week).

As with the other rooms I have done over the past year or so, it feels good to freshen up things. We have now been in this house twenty years, and too many of the rooms were last painted quite a while ago. I want to fix that. It feels good.

In the not-too-distant future...the finished product.

Monday, June 12, 2017


Graduation for our high school's class of 2017 was held today at 4pm at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware. Julia will continue to go to the high school as a "super senior" until she turns 21, at which time she will transition to a work programs run by the county. But in the meantime, she got to walk with her class, have her name called, go up on stage and get a "diploma".
Julia walking in

It was a hot day outside, but fortunately they had the arena chilled to refrigerator-like temperatures in anticipation of the crowd to come. There were a few songs by the orchestra and chorus as the crowd was filing in, and then the march in music for our ~400 seniors.
Class of 2017

There were brief remarks by the district superintendent and chairperson of the school board, followed by the reading of the 400 names, at which time the students filed across the stage to get their diplomas. The students were organized into the seats by height, not by name, with the order going from shortest to tallest. Odd, but whatever. This did have the effect of making you pay attention to where your kid was so you didn't miss the photo op of the big moment. Julia was in the second row out of about 14 or 15 rows, so we had to pay attention for a brief time, and could then sit back, relax, and cheer whenever we heard a name we knew.
My graduate and my girls

Following that, there were brief speeches by the salutatorian (a.k.a runner-up valedictorian) and valedictorian, closing remarks, and then it was over. Coincidently, the salutatorian was the son of a woman I went to high school with (1 year apart). She is someone that Amp has become good friends with as part of her time doing costumes for the plays, and being associated with the Drama Club folks. Small world. Although I guess not really that small since I grew up and went to high school maybe 10 miles down the road.
Gina, Grace and Julia

The whole thing took about and hour and a half, of which an hour was the name reading and diploma giving...

It was a joy-filled day, and I couldn't possibly be more proud of Julia and what she has been able to accomplish in her high school years. She has come a very long way, and best of all, is a happy and well adjusted young lady. She has had many great experiences, and made many good friends.

We are very proud of her.

Graduation Day

It's easy to get lost in memories as I sit here with a cup of coffee on the morning of the day that Julia will graduate from high school. Mainly, I suppose, I just have the same thought that every other parent in the same situation has ever had - how in the world did the time go so fast?

At 4pm today at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware, Julia will march with the rest of her class. Her Mom will cry. I will tear up. Grace will ask "when's this gonna be over?"

It will be a good day.
...and Now

Even if it's just not possible.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dwarven Sorcerer WIP

I had enough fun painting the Ranger figure that I have started on a Dwarven Sorcerer figure. It is one of the two Dwarven Wizard figures from the new WizKids D&D unpainted range.
Back WIP

The figs come primed and ready to paint, and are nice sculpts. They are a little less detailed than high end metal figs, being cast in a bendable plastic, but are still good quality.
Front WIP

For this figure, I am going to do light brown robes and green trim. Not sure about the rest yet.