Tuesday, April 20, 2021


 It's funny how life can change direction suddenly and in many different ways.

In the space of a week, we had the following happen:

  • We bought a house. We have been looking since December and it had been grim going. Disappointment abounded because it seemed like every nice house we were interested in was sold for a crazy price. The very first house we put an offer in for went for $100 000 more than what we had offered. What's worse, is that if the seller had held out for another 3 months, they probably could have gotten $100 000 more than that.

    But this time, we were blessed. Unlike the other houses we had visited, this one did not seem to get the same action in terms of visits. I had counted cards. That is, there were only four real estate agent cards on the table; whereas all of the other ones had a dozen or more. I also think that supply had begun to catch up with demand and there were a lot of similar houses competing for attention. And we went in strong with a good offer.

    What's even better is that this house is the best one that we had seen. It looks to be in fantastic shape and it is in a great location. And I get a gaming space again, although it will also double as my office for work.

  • I got my first Covid shot. A couple of weeks ago, I had put my name down in the local pharmacy list. I wasn't expecting a quick response but a week ago, I got to pick my appointment and so I chose a Monday, because why not? I got the shot, and I felt a little something in my arm later that evening and not quite 100%, say 90%. But this morning, I'm feeling great.

    FWIW, I got the Astra-Zeneca jab.

  • I received a job offer, which I promptly accepted. After being laid off last summer and then having a non-Covid health scare, it has been a tough little while. I was so happy to get a contract because I was able to prove to myself and to other people that I was willing and able to work. But the contract was ending and I was dreading having to search for work again. It can be pretty soul-destroying. 

    I had applied to this company back in February. And the hiring process ground on through March. Near end of March, I knew I was in the final stage because they asked for references. On it went through April as I swung between hope and despair. It's where you try to figure whether them not contacting you is a good thing or a bad thing. 

    The company finally put me out of my misery. I am so looking forward to working for this company. What they do is exciting and worthy and they seem to have quality people. I can't wait to start.
This does mean that gaming (or anything related to gaming) might be a bit difficult to do. We'll see how things turn out.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

New Tool: Paint Mixer

Inspired by Luke at Geek Gaming (Youtube link), I thought about my ancient collection of paints. Some of them I've never opened since I got them maybe seven years ago. I'm sure that some of them were many years old before I even acquired them.

One of the problems with these paints is that they require considerable mixing to bring them back to life. This means lots and lots of shaking, and that's hobby time being wasted.

So Luke had bought this vortex mixer, and he was showing how well it worked. I had a few bucks left over so I figured it would be a good idea to get one from Amazon. And here it is:

As it turns out, it's the exact same one as Luke bought. I tried it out and it mixed a paint that had separated into pigment and medium in big splotches. It took a little while but the paint did mix. But doing so saved me about 50% of time and a whole lot of arm shaking. I just press the paint down on the centre and the mixer does the work.

Apparently, there is a danger to using the shaker to long because the vibrations aren't good for you. But I reckon that if I take breaks between mixing spurts, I should be OK.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Fencing, Again (Part 2)

 Continuing my project from last time, I completed all of the brush between the fence. I then spray primed it grey followed by a brown wash everywhere. This is what the fences looked like at this stage:

I loosely painted a warm grey and then semi-dry brushed white over top. Not really dry but more of a sloppy waving of the brush over the very top surfaces. I followed this up with a black ink wash. As a final step, I painted the base brown and used the same colour to give the brush a little tint so that they would stand out a bit from the rails.

I'm really happy with how I managed to age the wood and get the appearance of grain. The extra time spent carving up the sticks paid off so that they just don't too manufactured.

Because enclosures should have gates so that farmers can enter their fields, I made a couple:

That's 6 feet of fences. I really should have doubled this project but I can make more.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Fencing, Again (Part 1)

 With some free time, I'm getting back into miniatures. I've decided to make some fences. Specifically, I'm basing them on the fences that you see here:

(If you own the picture, please let me know and I will replace the picture with a link to your site. I tried to go to the site watermarked in the photo but there's no easy way to find this image.)

So my plan is to create a set of vertical posts with double sets of dowels between them. Then I will use wire to simulate the thin sticks between them.

I started with 12 popsicle sticks and drilled three holes in each. Should you be interested, I'm enjoying a Thornbury Dam dark lager.

Then I glued the horizontal beams on both sides. 

Finally, I laid down a bead of PVA and cut some bristles from an old paint brush (thanks Gerry!). I inserted the bristles between the beams to recreate the thin branches that were used to fill in between the posts.

I've just done the one half to see how it turns out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021


 Well, it has been an eventful six months, not even considering a global pandemic:

  • At the end of July, I lost my job as part of a corporate restructuring.
  • I spent the second half of the summer and early fall searching for a job. We set a deadline of me finding a job by mid-September. I came really close, but there's no prize for coming in second.

    We set the deadline based on the real estate market being still hot in September and October before slowing in November and December. We also wanted to beat the surge in Covid cases that everyone was predicting.

  • Simultaneously, I was preparing the house for sale, so this meant a bit of cleaning and clearing out of junk. You can see the results of that cleaning and clearing out in the pictures of our Abbotsford house.
  • We then sold the house, so the cleaning and clearing out switched to packing for our move back to Ontario.
  • One day, I emerged from the basement following a job interview and my wife asked, "What's wrong with your eye?" I couldn't feel anything different so I went to a mirror. My left eye was wide open while my right eye had it's normal semi-lidded position. I basically looked a little like Bill the Cat from Bloom County

  • So it was off to the family doctor, who immediately sent me to an ophthalmologist, who immediately sent me to the hospital for a CT scan.
  • The CT scan showed that some muscles that control my eyes are inflamed and maybe there was a blood clot in the vein for those muscles. The swelling has moved my eyeball a little forward and that's why my eye seems to be more open.
  • I got referred to an orbital specialist who ordered an MRI and then another CT scan but using a dye. The swelling has gone down some but not completely as you can see here:

  • I did discover another side effect: I get double vision if I am looking at anything closer that about four feet. Since I work with computers, this is a distinct problem. I can see fine but only one eye at a time.
  • At the end of November we moved. The movers were a disaster. They managed to dent our dining room table and mash the bed headboard. They took forever to load the truck because there were only two of them and only one knew what he was doing.
  • We also discovered that despite having to wear a mask all the time, travelling by airplane in the Age of Covid was actually very pleasant and smooth provided that you ignore the fact that there is an infectious and deadly disease spreading. There was lots of room and the WestJet staff were so nice and attentive.
  • After we landed, we had video with the orbit specialist. She gave me the rather alarming news that I possibly had a leak somewhere vein network or near the brain and that I was to take it easy and refrain from any exertion.
  • The movers continued their disaster by taking a whole week longer than we were originally told. Then, only after we escalated to the CEO and lots pleading, they found a driver to deliver our goods to a storage locker. But the driver was alone. Thank goodness that my brother-in-law and  his son had showed up to help us, because they packed our goods into storage. I was under strict orders to not lift anything.
  • We moved in with a cousin of my wife, who has generously let us stay with him until we find a more permanent home. We're repaying him through nice meals and companionship, which I'm sure everyone appreciates during this time of lock-down.
  • I got to see another eye specialist in Toronto, who let me know that there was no leak and no clot. Woo hoo! The one downside is that my eye has not changed. But at least I can get new glasses to fix the double vision.
  • With the clean bill of health, I started to look for a job by reaching out to a recruiter who had contacted me. In a small world coincidence, he was looking to fill a contract that had been filled by my manager at my previous job. 
  • After so many rounds of interviews that stretched the hiring process out to weeks or even months, I got a contract in less than a week starting from when I reached out to the recruiter to signing the contract.
I'm hoping that 2021 continues in this way. Good times are coming, we just have to hold out until they arrive.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Nostalgia: Photos of the Stouffville House

 Having posted about the house we are leaving in Abbotsford, I found the real estate shots of our Stouffville house that me left in 2017. We did hire a staging company for this one but keen observers will note that the stager used a lot of our stuff. To be fair, we used what the stager did as ideas to furnish and decorate in our Abbotsford house such as the paint colour and the glass top tables.

We'll start with the view from the front entrance looking towards the living room at the back of the house.

We originally had a bench seat in the hallway but we replaced that with the less practical but more photogenic glass console table.

And here is the reverse view looking back.

Here is the living room from the kitchen area.

And here is the reverse showing the kitchen from the living room.

Swinging a bit to the left, we have the dining area, which includes sliding doors to go outside to the back yard. The back yard wasn't too much to look at, basically a 40x20 foot area with a small patio and a loud air conditioner.

The landing of the stairs, which you would see the moment you stepped in the doors and looked to your left and then the stairs themselves.

The office, with a view out the front and a faked daybed. It's really just a bunch of boxes with a bed cover on them. We always intended to have a daybed in there though.

The main bedroom with a view out the back.

The ensuite bathroom, which was double in size over the Abbotsford bathroom, but nowhere near as nice. I much prefer a proper dedicated shower over the tub/shower combo.

Finally, the guest bedroom.

Maybe I'll be able to dig up the Brampton house. If so, I'll post those pix as well.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Gaming Stuff Packed

 Here is my miniature life reduced to a few boxes.

One big black box contains most of my Chain of Command 28mm miniatures and terrain. The only bits that it doesn't contain, trees and buildings, are in the grey box with the blue top. The other big black box contains miscellaneous gaming stuff including my lead mountain.

The white shelving unit is my bit box. It used to also contain my paints, which have been replaced by 15mm ECW figures and the forests and buildings of my 2mm board.

The yellow box and Mary Kay bag contain my 6mm figures and terrain, both finished and based and unfinished. The Mary Kay bag is seriously the best thing a miniature gamer could use for traveling to gaming events. It has 4 boxes on trays for miniatures to go in with slide out access. Rules will fit in front of the boxes. The top part (originally meant for lipsticks) can lift out and is where I put all of my trees in. I can put some tall buildings in there as well. The side pouches are nice areas to put gaming equipment in such as dice, measuring tapes, containers of tokens, and so on. The bag has both a nice carry handle and a good strap for carrying on your shoulder. 

And here is my travel boxes with reading material. Because I might not be able to get to the other miniature boxes for 6 months or so as they go into storage, I have some miniature supplies to tide me over. I packed my 15mm tanks in there, a whole bunch of toothpicks, stir sticks, and other bits of wood so that I can do some terrain crafting, especially when we self-isolate after moving. I also put my 15mm Americans in there just in case I feel like painting. Speaking of paints, that's what the tackle box contains.

I'm quite proud of how compact my collection is at the moment.