Aug 17, 2009

Undercoating - Do It

Had my first Chinese lesson today - was pretty much what you'd expect. Mandarin seems to have 5 identical consonants, but somehow the teacher still manages to hear when I use the wrong one. Oh, well - it was exciting understanding my first proper Chinese sentence, and I can now say "hello", "thank you" and "goodbye" in addition to my old arsenal of "go away", "draw swords" and "yes". Less likely to start a fight with a gang of Chinese ren-faire equivalents unintentionally this way.



This post will be about undercoating - that mysterious act of getting miniatures white or black before painting proper, also known as "priming". I've been stunned recently to learn that otherwise intelligent and reasonable people paint their miniatures without doing this. This is a bad idea. The paint will not stick properly, the pigment will take on a greyish tone from the plastic or metal of the miniature, colours will go flat, cats and dogs will rain from heaven. What I'm getting at is, it's a good idea to prime your miniatures. "But, guy, I don't have the space, I don't have a well-ventilated area to spray, I don't..." Well, you don't need to spray-prime 'em. Sure, the spray is better, but even just giving it a one-over with your brush, loaded with black or white, will function as a primer. It's not hard, and it gives a much better result, I'm sure you'll agree.

This is the Mimes of Moria Public Service Announcement System, signing off.

Aug 12, 2009

Clickipedia Count

In the spirit of this blog post, I'll now go clicking through Wikipedia, using the Random feature until I find a subject that interests me moderately, and then one which interests me a great deal. Let's count...

1. Skag (disambiguation)
2. Bluemont, Virginia
3. Simon Tanner
4. The Great Depression (book)
5. List of Lakes in South Africa
6. Piet Ooms
7. Jacaré River (Rio das Cinzas)
8. Pope Adrian V

After 8 clicks, we have our first mildly interesting page: Pope Adrian V, a seemingly totally unremarkable pope except for having the name of a little brother of a friend of mine.

Moving on:

9. Colman nepos Cracavist
10. Komanovo Municipality
11. Wrapping
12. The Tracking Satyrs
13. The Man Who Could Work Miracles

Lucky 13 - we have finally found a truly interesting page. The Man Who Could Work Miracles is a 1936 fantasy-comedy involving superpowers and the use of them, in the vein of Bruce Almighty.

I'm now gonna stop writing links, and start counting - we're going in for a long haul: We're gonna find one of my heartland interests in this manner!

*clickclickclickclick etc. etc.*

After 56 clicks, I found myself on the page of the Khwarezmian language. Hmmm, interesting... never heard of it before. An extinct language, killed by Islam, with a half-finished dictionary orphaned at the writer's death.

We're gonna go on.


D&D. Yes, click #58 took me to a D&D page - the first on here I might actually have searched out myself - Mimic (Dungeons & Dragons).

And, thus, our journey is over.

Aug 8, 2009

The Fourth Great King

Yesterday, I came across this:

YouTube - The Dark Lords of Hattusha.

It's quite interesting, isn't it? An entire superpower rises up, becomes recognized, and falls - and then is forgotten completely. "The empire that fell due to greed and arrogance" is a familiar theme for most of us, but most of us also kinda assume that any great superpower-empire would leave enough behind that it would be kinda hard to just forget all about. Well, not in this case - Hattusha left behind only just enough that after it was stumbled across by chance, a dedicated team of archaeologists spent the better part of a century learning anything about it.

And the "stumbled across by chance" part is also quite an accurate description - the only reason Hattusha was discovered was that 1) - a mysterious individual was named "Great King" by pharaoh Ramses II of Egypt, a title reserved for the leaders of Egypt, Ashuria and Babylonia but here used for somebody who was not, and 2) - a strange city of unusual dimensions was discovered in the mountains, far away from any location of interest or import.

Still - "Great King Hattie"?

Aug 5, 2009

Language Changes

I see it quite often - somebody uses a form that somebody else dislikes, and that somebody criticizes it, and yet another person comes in and says that the controversial form is, in fact, quite acceptable, because language changes. The answer is inevitably "Bullshit!"

The truth is, it does. Proof is easy enough to find - from the more obvious ones, such as "thee" and "thou" being gone, to the more subtle ones, such as the phrase "an apron" having become grammatically correct - the original form, of course, being "a napron", to go with "a napkin". I see the auto-correction even underlines the term "napron" with red, which illustrates quite remarkably quite how far this chane has gone, rendering the original completely unused except by nerds like me.

But that's not the only change - witness how the term "bridd" metamorphed into "bird", with the original form being extinct, or how the word "if" had lost its meaning of "since" entirely, which it retained long into the 1800s. Other changes is that once "silly" meant "blessed" and Buxom" "obedient". Try using them with this meaning now!

If thou no doubt hast payed Attention, being the buxom Reader that thou art, thou shouldst with no Problems discern the Truth: Language doth change.

Aug 3, 2009


WARNING! Rant follows!

Did you know I'm a member of the Church of Norway?

Neither did I. Nor dd my mother or my father, who are both non-members, my father being non-baptised, just like me, and my mother having withdrawn her membership decades ago, long before I was born. So why am I a member of the Church of Norway? I have my suspicions:


The Church of Norway has a habit of claiming more members than can be proven, because the Norwegian government gives out currency for every member of the Church of Norway. Apparently, His Chosen Spokespeople on Earth consider the Ten Commandments, specifically the one that goes "Thou Shalt Not Lie", to be secondary to the holy and righteous goal of earning some quick bucks. People like that make me sick. And the fact that I have tributed to their coffers, potentially for over two decades, makes me angry. This is theft of government money - or, more accuately, fraud. They lie, cheat and steal, and they've used me to do so.

A message to the Church of Norway: I'm not your member. I've never been your member. I never will be your member. So give that money back to the government, dammit! Or, even better, donate it to Habitat for Humanity, where it'll actually do some tangible good.

Rant over.


I have discovered the reason why I, and several other non-Christians, have been unpleasantly surprised in this manner - upon the establishment of a membership registry for the Church of Norway, as a "cost-cutting measure" - which I suspect was, at least in part, informed by the fact that they would then receive subsidy from the state - they didn't bother going to the church-books for their lists of parishioners, but instead quite simply used the Norwegian census. This means that, as of 1998, every single Norwegian citizen was officially a member of the Church of Norway unless they specifically withdrew their membership after this date. This includes people, like my mother, who had quite specifically withdrawn their memberships before this point in time. This is dishonest business practices at best, methinks. Do I smell a scandal in the making?

Aug 2, 2009

GW Price Differences

Yesterday, while browsing the Games Workshop homepage, I decided to give the localized Norwegian site a try. Lo and behold, it displays prices in NOK instead of £. Happily skipping along on this, I took a look at some products, and everything was peace and happiness. But something nagged at me, so I returned to the British version and looked up the same product I'd been viewing in the Norwegian site. Then I entered that into a currency converter, and looked at the Norwegian price. Then I did that for all the localized versions except for those within the Eurozone, where I only tested twice. The results:

Country - cost:
GB - 100%
US - 103%
SW - 111.5%
EU - 116.5%
NO & CA - 133.5%
DK - 137%
AU - 170.5%

The lesson? If you live outside GB, you pay more for the same stuff. Let's, however, look at the same product sold at a different site:

Maelstrom Games - 92%

The lesson is clear, and I've taken it to heart myself: Buy your stuff from independent online stockists, not from GW. Maelstrom Games is hardly alone in offering better deals than GW, though it is the one online stockist I personally can vouch for. There are only two cases where I still buy my stuff from GW: If Maelstrom doesn't carry it - which happens distressingly often - and if I want a specific model (Say, if I want Dark Elf Assassin #2, and Maelstrom only offers a random one). (Of course, if you poor, unlucky bastards live in Australia, even this much may be extravagancy. In that case, eBay also offers cheap and useable GW minis.)

"But, Somebody," you ask, "what about shipping?" Maelstrom Games apparently ships for free worldwide. Yeah, I know, I didn't believe it myself. But enough of the sounding like a Maelstrom Games shill for today.

RIP Warpstone

Warpstone, the independent Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP), announced in their last issue, issue 28, that issue 30 will be the last. This is bad news for the WFRP community, as the magazine is both well-written, informative and very interesting. I myself have had the misfortune of getting onto the bandwagon late, having missed most of their issues, but I have been greatly impressed by it - especially the recent article detailing the little-known Chaos Dwarfs and their even less well-known cousins, the Tainted Dwarfs, was excellent.

Best of luck to the magazine's editor, John Foody, and the rest of his staff.

Warpstone's sister web publication, Legion, looks like it's still going strong.

News and trivia - I do not guarantee the accuracy of the below, but I believe they are probably correct:

In other news, a mysterious white spot has been spotted on Venus - apparently not an uncommon occurence, but this time the ESA hopes to be able to analyze the spot and discover its make-up. [Source: ABC Nyheter]

Several vaccines against cancer are apparently nearing readiness, and may be available within the next 5 years.

It has been confirmed that heart cells do, in fact, regenerate, but only very slowly.

And a groundbreaking new design of wheelchair for children has been designed, intended for use by children below the age of 6. The design incorporates proximity sensors, in order to help the child avoid any crashes. [Source: Illustrert Vitenskap #11 2009]