Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Weekly Update For Sunday, December 14th, 2014 - Incisions, Insomnia, and the Internet

The Da Vinci tele-manipulator system

First off in today's news round-up, The Missus got through her bout of surgery Friday with good results. She was in for about twelve hours, four of them in the operating room, to remove a number of what we hope are non-malignant fibroid tumors from her abdomen. The process involved inflating her like a balloon with carbon-dioxide gas, and then using the remote-controlled arms of the tele-manipulator to get in there and do the actual work. If this had been conventional surgery, she'd have had to stay the weekend in the hospital, and been at a much greater risk of infection and other bad side effects.

I got her home late Friday - I'd been up since two am that morning to get everything ready, so we were both ready for naps - and she's been resting ever since. She's sore, and in some pin, but nothing like what she could have had to deal with. Her prognosis is good, and we have hopes!

This should be the end of the big medical  events for a while, and we could use a little 'down time'!


We are now in the final twenty-four hours of Mike Burns' 'Ancient Egyptian' Indiegogo campaign, and I am very pleased to be able to say that it has been very successful! There are a lot of new figures, and we're investing in all of them - they have that 'charm' that Phil would have loved, and I can think of all sorts of games to run using them. Please, if you would, do have a look before the campaign ends tomorrow...

And please do have a look at the gallery of photos, too! There is some really great stuff there!


The helpful guys at The Source Comics and Games have introduced me to a new manufacturer of laser-cut plywood bases for miniature figures, Tre Games, Inc.; this firm does not have a website up yet - they are that new! - but you can reach them at their URL:

The bases are as good as those made by my primary supplier of bases, Litko Aero, and very nicely priced. I bought a large quantity this past weekend, as I have a lot of figures to base up over my upcoming holiday vacation.

In advance of the Indiegogo figures arriving after the holidays, I should note that I have also placed a large order with Litko Aero for some of their products, as well; the Mike Burns figures are designed for 'slotta-bases', so I needed to order my standard base sizes with slots cut into them. Litko has these as a stock item, so they got the order. If you haven't had a look at their vast range of useful products, may I suggest:


I am still way behind on e-mails and replies to your comments, due to the time needs of The Missus' medical situation, and I will try to get caught up before my holiday. My goal is to 'clear the decks' and have a holiday for writing and model-building, and I will try to get everyone answered as soon as I can. One of my big issues, these days, is that my work schedule pretty much takes me out of circulation from noon on Sundays to the early afternoon on Fridays. I can often get some work done when I can't sleep - like this morning, which is normal for my Sundays - but I am very limited in my free time.

A direct result of this is that I have 'pruned' some parts of this blog back a bit, as I simply don't have the time to maintain those sections with the attention that they need. Likewise, I have really stepped back from participation on various on-line fora - Dragonsfoot, ODD74,, Minnesota Indie Gamers, Knights and Knaves Alehouse, The Comeback Inn, The Piazza, RPGsite, the various Yahoo forums, and Facebook. I still look in on and post on Lead Adventure Forum, as well as many of the wonderful blogs that I follow, and I am happy with that - there are a lot of very fun people out there, and I think I'm very lucky to be able to list their blogs here!

More later this week! Thanks again for your time!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Weekly Update For Sunday, December 7th, 2014 - Not Much News, Really...

"It's quiet." "Too quiet."

I have very little to report on this week; I am gearing up for The Missus' session with the cutters on Friday, and trying to get as much sleep as I can in advance of that. I have several pretty major projects in the works, and I'm pleased with the progress we're making on them. It's been a lot of work and effort, but I think people will be pleased when they see the results.

It has been a good birthday; a nice evening out on Friday, a good day in capped off with a big platter of sushi last night, and a lot of nice messages from folks. I'll try to get all caught up this week!

Foe me, the big news item of the week is the Dark Fable Miniatures Indiegogo campaign:

My 'birthday money' went to buy into this campaign, at our usual level, and I am looking forward to seeing the figures in January. These figures have proven to be very useful in my games, and they are a joy to paint up!

The campaign ends on December 15th, so if you think you might want to buy into it, you might want to  have a look in the next few days.

I should also mention that I have sent in my Event Submission forms to Gary Con, and we're moving ahead with the trip planning for the convention.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Yearly Update For Saturday, December 6th, 2014 - Doing Business In The Same Location For Fifty-Eight Years

Ghatoni. Lots and lots of Ghatoni!
(and some Exalted Flame, too!)

Blocks. Lots and lots of blocks!

Well, here we are once again; I am now another year older. And, I am happy to be able to report, I am celebrating twenty-seven months of being still alive - as you might guess, this is A Big Deal around here. If you wouldn't mind, this post will be a bit of a short recap of the doings here at The Workbench over the past year. First off, though, let's look at the festivities going on hereabouts...

The Missus, bless her, took me out to eat at our favorite cafeteria - the eatery at the local IKEA, better known as the purveyor of the odd and unusual here on this blog. I had been hoping to get a plate of my favorite fish-and-chips - an addiction I picked up from my fellow railway modelers in the Wakefield Railway Modelling Society; we get ours from The Union pub across from where we have our Annual Exhibition - but alas!!! IKEA has discontinued this staple of my diet and so I consoled my wretched self with a platter of chicken strips and chips. (The Missus had her own favorite, the meatballs.) The massive chocolate cake topped off the feast, and I am delighted to report that it was a very nice way to celebrate my birthday.

The Missus also got me a gift there, too! It's the pack of 'FUNDERA' wooden blocks, which I waxed so delighted over when I saw them that The Missus thought that it would be cruel not to get me a pack. You get, for your $9.95, 100 hardwood blocks that measure about 20 mm by 200 mm, and about 5mm thick. Bridges, passageways, buildings, you name it - these blocks will do it. I can think of all sorts of uses for these in the game room, and it may tell you something about my games and my play style that a pack of simple wooden blocks would send me into transports of delight.

We also got my grandson his very first tool kit, and he's just arrived to pick the thing up...

[A short delay, if you don't mind...]

[Thank you for your patience; The Grandson has departed for his nap, and is Pleased with his IKEA tool kit.]

The postman has also added to the wonder of the day; there was a package from Mr. Allen in the mail, and he has been kind enough to send me forty (!) infantry, a dozen (!) archers, and two (!) sets of command stands for the Ghatoni - and four Serdula, two armored and two un-armored. I will try to shoot better photos of all of these treasures, although you may be able to see some of his own photos of his creations on the Tekumel miniatures Yahoo group. To add to my delight, there are also ten of the Legion of Exalted Flame - I've been looking for these for positively ages, to try and fill out my version of this legion. All my usual sources for the old metal figures have pretty much dried up after all these years, so these are very welcome additions to the ranks.

I really love David Allen's work - he's a master of the three-dimensional printer, and his ability to model Tekumel is really uncanny!

Like any year in my life, it's been a mixed bag of the good and the bad. Bad, in the sense of The Missus and her health issues, but good in the sense that she's doing very well. Her prognosis is good, her doctors tell me, and if we're careful she;s going to be good for quite a few years yet. The same for me; if I keep my blood pressure down, mostly by avoiding stress, I should be around for a bit as well.

Gaming has been a mixed bag as well; the long football season this year has been a bit of a trial, as it takes away a lot of the weekend time that I have, but we're now through the season and I'm back to a regular schedule for the next six months. I am concentrating on getting the unpainted painted, the useful projects finished, and the less-then-useful projects terminated and the wreckage out the door. I am being a lot more focused, due to my time and energy constraints, and I think that's going to be very helpful in the coming months.

A nice result of all this time-management is that I'm writing again, and "To Serve The Petal Throne" is moving forward very nicely. I am expecting and hoping to get the bulk of the book done during my upcoming vacation, and off to my editors in the very early part of the year. Once that's done, I can get back to working on the second edition of my miniatures rules - a project which has had to stay on the back-burner for far too long!

So, all in all, I can say that I've been mostly pleased with the year that was; here's to the year to come!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Weekly Update For Sunday, November 30, 2014 - The Holiday, Gary Con, And "To Serve The Petal Throne"

The Union viewpoint on my little brigade,
across Dave Wesley's game table.

First off. let me apologize for being behind on my e-mails and responses to your comments on this blog. The holiday weekend turned out to be a very busy one, with visits to and from my extended family occupying most of the time. Not that I minded, you have to understand; due to my work schedule, I get to see them so few times in a year that I have to make the most of what time I do have to see them.

I am now back to my regular schedule, so I should be all caught up by the middle of this week; thank you, all of you, for your patience! The next day off I will have is the Thursday / Friday night of December 12th, to get ready for The Missus' next round of surgery. After that, I will have an eleven-day vacation coming up, over the Christmas and New Year's holidays; I have two four-day weekends over each holiday, and I put in for three day's vacation leave for the time between them. I can use the time off, as it's been a little exhausting around here of late, and I'm looking forward to being able to simply sit and write and paint miniatures.

I am expecting to get a lot done on my book, "To Serve The Petal Throne", and I think I may very well have the vast bulk of the thing done by the turn of the year. I'm finding that when I get a clear run at the keyboard, without any distractions or emergencies, I get a lot done in one sitting - I am usually able to crank out quite a bit of text, as I have all of the 'scenes' floating around in my noggin all ready to be typed out.

So, we'll see; I'll keep all of you posted, of course!

In other news, I have purchased a membership / registration for this year's Gary Con; after a exchange of e-mails with Mr. Luke Gygax of the convention's management team, I have bought a 'Silver' membership; this will allow for the chance to play in some games, if I'm able to do so, and I'm hoping to be able to get into the "Chainmail" game that I understand Paul Stromberg will be doing again this year. Mike Mornard had some very good things to say about this game last year, and that sold me on the thing.

I am working with the convention to set up a seminar / lecture / question-and-answer session, which will be part of the convention programming. Due to the kindness of a friends and fellow Tekumel fan, I now have a drive to hand that I can load all of my digital archives onto, and I will be bringing one of our fleet of laptop computers and out pair of tiny LCD projectors. For those of you who are going to be at the convention, I will be there for you; I will be able to answer your questions about Phil and his world, and show you Phil's own viewpoint on his creation through his own artwork and texts.

I also hope to have a manuscript copy of "To Serve The Petal Throne" with me for you to ponder, or to use as a doorstop.

I am, I have to say, looking forward to the opportunity to do what I love to do best - talk about Phil ad Tekumel!