Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Weekly Update For Sunday, December 28th, 2014 - The Last Post Of This Year

It has been a very nice quiet holiday, and I'm very happy with all the progress I am making on my book and the troops for the upcoming miniatures campaign. I am also reading a few more books from The Lost Library, pictured above; I think you might find them very, very interesting when you apply them to the context of the strategic situations of the Five Empires.

Take a good, close look at the maps of the Five Empires. Notice something? Each of the five major states is separated from each other by either difficult terrain features or 'buffer states', or both. Phil said repeatedly to me that major military campaigns on Tekumel by the Five Empires are difficult and usually unsuccessful - but that 'border skirmishes' like one would find along the Rhine during the Principate or on the Northwest frontier during the British Raj would be and are very common. For gamers, that's actually pretty darn good news; lots and lots of 'little wars', and a chance for the younger officers and adventurers to see lots of action...

In other news, I am delighted to be able to pass along the news that the pathology report from The Missus' recent surgery came back 'negative' - 'non-malignant'. As you can imagine, we're pretty relieved at this news.

I have been asked about running a Tekumel adventure at Gary Con this coming March, and I have filed an event submission with the convention organizers about this. I'll keep you all informed, of course.

There is not much news to report, otherwise. I am getting caught up on e-mails and comments, and I'll keep plugging away on those for you as best I can. I'm also getting lots of sleep, which I badly need, as well as 'recovery time' from all the stress we've been under for the past six months.

More to come - watch this space!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Boxing Day, 2014 - And A Happy Holiday To Everyone!

Good taste? Around here? What?

I am having a wonderful holiday - no stress, lots of sleep, and much higher productivity. I have gotten over 150 figures prepped and based, ahead of the upcoming 'Fortress Chalukolumel' campaign, and I've gotten over 2,000 words added to Volume VI of "To Serve The Petal Throne". I have over a week left, and I'm looking forward to the rest of my vacation and to the coming year.

I should note, in passing, that Christmas for us unreconstructed Byzantines falls on January 7th, 2015; we still use the Julian calendar, especially for liturgical purposes, and none of this new-fangled Gregorian nonsense, nosireebob! So, I get lots of holiday time every year, and I tend to enjoy all of it.

Things to look forward to in the coming month include photos of all the new figures - I am finally getting the chance to go through all of the storage bins and getting my miniatures collection sorted out - and some essays on campaigning; Lord Vimuhla is on the side of the big battalions, or at least one hopes so after putting all the effort into the battalions.

I am planning on opening the 'Chalukolumel' campaign early in the spring; the campaign will be open to all comers, and I'll be running in in classic style. You, Gentle Readers, can sign up to play the various junior officers, and send me your orders via e-mail; I'll set up the battles on the game table as they happen, and we'll fight them out on Google+ hangouts so everyone who wants to can play.

I should note that the campaign will not be a 'miniatures wargame campaign' or an RPG campaign; it will be neither, and both, just like when we played out at Phil's. We played junior people, and our 'job performance' is what got us promotions, over the years; we played a lot of our fights out 'on the table', because we could, and I'd like to entertain everyone with a chance to play like we did 'back in the day'.

So, Happy Holidays, and here's to the new year!

[edit: video upload fixed. I hope.]

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Heartfelt Thank You To You All!

Pacifica, in her original setting

I'd like to take a moment, here, to thank all of you who have commented, e-mailed, and called with your sympathies and best wishes. It's very kind of all of you, and I'll be passing your very welcome thoughts along to The Girls.

I am trying very hard to keep the boat pumped out and sailing along, and I hope to be back to normal service for the holidays.

Thank you all, once again!

- chirine

Monday, December 22, 2014

This Morning's Update To Yesterday's Update...


I am very sorry to have to report that Grandpa Jack lost his fight with the infection that laid him low last night, about eight-thirty local time. Two of The Daughters were with him; one was still an hour out on the airplane.

If you don't mind, I will be going quiet for a couple of days. Thanks for your patience!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Weekly Update For Sunday, December 21st, 2014 - The Solstice, My Back, And The Current State Of Emergency

Something for the solstice

This will be a pretty short and quick update, today; I have managed to injure my lower back, and am not able to sit in front of the computer for any length of time. So, with your indulgence, here goes:

First off, some bad news from our friends in the UK. Stewart, one of the wonderful guys from Griffin Miniatures, passed away suddenly late last week from what appears to have been a heart attack. There isn't anything about this on their website; I got the news from mutual friends...

We here at The Workbench are dealing with a unfortunate family emergency; as I've noted elsewhere on this blog, I am currently the adopted father of three very nice young ladies. Their wonderful grandfather, Jack, is in a poor way; he's a sprightly ninety-six, but recently had to deal with an infection that really slowed him down. All of the girls and their mother are gathering, from diverse far-off lands like Switzerland and Saint Paul, and we'll likely to have to play host to some of the family. I've been getting our spare room cleared out for this, which is how I managed to sprain my back - I think I did it while moving boxes of files. (Of which we have quite a lot, actually!)

Despite this crisis, planning for the trip to Gary Con in march is moving right along. I have my registration paid for, my event submissions in, and hotel room being booked. There is still a question about transport; we may be renting a mini-van to carry everyone down to Lake Geneva, as we've been talking to people who might need rides. More on this as we get the news, of course.

I am really looking forward to my upcoming vacation - I am planning on getting this blog up to date, and a lot of work done in the game room and on the book!

Happy Solstice!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Something Unexpected For The Holidays!

A logo with a sense of humor!

The back label - the story of my life, actually...

I got a little Token of Somebody's Appreciation, yesterday; it was very kind of them, and I was happy to be able to help them out. They thought that the little story on the back label was me, and I have to agree - especially given some of the reactions in gaming to the photos that I provided to "Der Spiegel", back in 2008...

Happy Holidays!!!

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