Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I’m Using Protection From Now On

2013-04-03 16.53.14

2013-04-03 16.52.31

After the great crash of my miniature case that I wrote about a while back (read it here) I ordered a carry case.  Well, after just over a month, it came.  It is fantastic.  There are lots of pockets for templates, dice, rule books, etc.  There is also lots of room for my current minis and room for expansion.  I can always order some custom trays in the future.

We are pleased.



One week ago I went 24 hours unplugged.  By unplugged, I mean no computer, no phone,no TV, no internet and no music.  I did use electricity, so technically I was plugged in, but let’s not get hung up on semantics.  My unplugged stint was in response to a challenge from my wife.  Jen thought I wouldn’t be able to handle the silence.  I told her that as long as she was still in the house, it was unlikely there would be any silence.  I sure found out how quiet a cold shoulder could be, let me tell you!

The experience was somewhat enlightening in the fact that it brought into sharp relief how accustomed we have become to having information at our fingertips.  There were many times during the day that a topic came up in conversation or while I was reading and I almost automatically reached for my phone or keyboard to Google it.

It was a very quiet day.  I accomplished a lot in that day though.  I don’t know if that can be attributed to the lack of “breaks” to text, check email, surf the net, etc., but I strongly suspect so.

As for the experience rejuvenating my soul or taking me to a higher plane of existence, I think not.  Granted, I was on holidays for a week and a half already at that time, so I was already pretty relaxed.  I think I will try the experiment again during a weekend and see if it increases my relaxation quotient.

In short, I would recommend people give it a try and see how it effects you and what you notice about your information age lifestyle.  If you do take the challenge, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Spoils of War



So, the mobile OS war is all but over.  Android is king and iOS is a solid second.  This is fact and disregards the respective strengths and weaknesses of each OS.  I offer proof below.


My question as an Android user is “Where are the spoils of war?”  Shouldn’t we be pillaging Apples villages and stealing their women?  But that’s not the case.  Almost every app is either introduced for each system concurrently or only for iOS.  Where is my pillaging? 

The incident that instigated this post, was a visit to my extended health insurance company.  They have a great online sight that offers me lots of information about my account and claims. Then I see they have an app that lets you submit your claims through the app and not have to mail in any receipts.  Fantastic I think.  Oh wait.  It’s only for iOS.  C’mon guys.  When 70% of all smart phones sold in America run Android, why can’t I get an app at least at the same time as the dorks at Apple?  Why are developers still only writing apps for the minority?  If I have a business, it would be bad practice to cater to 20% of the population, when I could be catering to 70%.  In this case, why are businesses telling the majority of their customers or clients that they are less important or worthy of extra services than others simply because of the OS on their phone.  It is blatant OSism and  I won’t stand for it any more.

I would like to know how I picked the winning side for once (I have a very poor record in this respect) and I’m still losing?  I want to pillage and set fire to their homes, but instead I’m getting beat over the head with some old lady’s broom.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Why Spring Break May Save My Sanity

We just started our annual two week Spring Break yesterday.  It couldn’t have come at a better time.  There were a few times in the last few days of school that I thought I was going to lay hands on a child and throw them out into a snow bank.

You may ask yourself how it came to this.  Well, let me tell yah.  I have a very “challenging” class this year.  Challenging is teacher speak for a stress leave waiting to happen.  I have a child with brain damage and another that likely has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and is academically functioning below a Kindergarten level.  Oh, you can barely understand the second little gaffer either.  I have two hearing impaired students, one of which didn’t get hearing aids until he was five.  That guy is understandably pretty far behind.  As an example, we were reading a book the other day and I discovered he didn’t know what a clown was.  We’re not talking about not knowing the word for clown.  He just had never come across a clown before.  Weird.  You might think that was a handful, but it gets better.  My last special fellow has extreme behaviour issues linked to ADHD.  This guy is completely governed by his impulses and his need for attention. 

In the past weeks we were having issues with brain damaged student having massive fits that ended up with her being sent home and having to be forcibly removed from the classroom.   That is when the attention seeker decided pooping his pants was a great idea.  It netted him a shower, a change of clothes and lots of attention.  This must have looked pretty good to him, because he proceeded to crap his drawers every day for over a week.  The final straw was when I found a very suspicious smear on the floor under his chair.  I have to tell you that cleaning pooh off of the floor is just not in my contract.

The rest of my class is full of pretty stable kids, but they do feed off of the chaos created by some of the rest.  Add to that the usual nuttiness of the last week of school before holidays and you may see why I was on the ragged, jagged edge. 

I am going to spend lots of time skiing, watching movies, reading, painting and playing video games.  When my mother-in-law leaves tonight (did I not mention she was here?) there may a couple of days where my wife and I retreat to our corners of the house and sequester ourselves. Ahh, holidays.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Trouble Comes in Threes

It has been a fantastic week.  I say that with every bit of sarcasm I can muster.  They say that trouble comes in threes and I sure hope they’re right, because then this crap might stop happening.

I already wrote about the smashing of my Warmachine army.  That turned out to incident number one.

Number two came when we started the car at the beginning of the week and the blower wouldn’t work.  That means there isn’t anything to blow the heat from the engine into the cabin and even worse, nothing to blow it through the defroster.  The particular morning this started was very cold and damp, so there was lots of frost on the outside AND the inside of the windshield.  We had to drive around the neighbourhood for a while before we could get enough heat being pushed through to get some of the frost off.  When I called around the get the car in to have it looked at, it was at least a week before anyone could look at it.  Everything takes longer up here, but c’mon. When it’s –20 Celsius in the morning you really need some heat and to be able to see out of your windshield.

Number three was a letter I got from the insurance company on Thursday.  Now, for some unknown reason at some point in the past the stoner hippies in this province decided the government would do a great job of running car insurance.  So they made the government the ONLY insurance company in the province.  Now ICBC, the monolithic auto insurance provider in the province pretty much does what it wants and the rest of us pay.  And oh, do we pay.  On top of that, even though we live in a small town in a rural area, we have the highest premiums outside of downtown Vancouver. 

So, imagine my surprise when I get a letter saying that ICBC will no longer be offering me a deductible of $300 on my insurance when I renew in the spring, I will only be offered a deductible of $2500.  What was my crime?  Living in a part of the country where they spread gravel on the roads like it’s going out of style.  Nearly everyone up here needs a new windshield every year because of the amount of stones thrown up by passing vehicles.  Add to this the deer that decided to off itself on my front bumper last year.  The letter says that your claims were no fault, but it wouldn’t be fair to raise rates for everyone.  The translation being, “While your policy is no-fault, we are finding you at fault.”  The topper was the last paragraph that told me that if I materially change my driving habits, I can have my case reviewed after one year.  In other words, if I decide to move, they’ll take another look.

I am so pissed I could spit nails.  It feels like one of those weeks, when I could fall into a bucket of tits and come up sucking my thumb.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall

As I was preparing to go out gaming  Friday night I had a bit of a mishap.  But before I get to that, maybe I should give a bit of background information.

I have lots of miniatures (by my standards at least).  I play my games at a local school with a group of like minded nerds.  This arrangement necessitates a transportation method for all of my little man dollies or at least the ones I will be using on a given night.  There are several options, ranging from carrying cases full of protective foam costing hundreds of dollars, to an inexpensive, small Rubbermaid totes with an old t-shirt inside.  Can you guess which one I have been using?

On this given day, I had my rule books in one hand and I had just pulled the tote off the shelf.  Now, the way I figure it, one of my larger minis was sitting a bit too high and cause the lid to not close fully.  As a result, when I grabbed the tote with only one hand, thumb on top and fingers below, the lid slid off causing me to lose my grip.  The result was a mighty crash and a surprising “Oh, no!” from me.  I didn’t even swear.  I think I was suffering from shock.  ALL of the minis in the tote had smashed on the floor and fallen out of the tote.


My wife and mother-in-law were upstairs and afraid to come down stairs to see what happened.  When my wife finally braved it, she found me standing in the doorway of the Man Cave and staring at the floor, which was littered with bits and pieces of metal and plastic that used to be finely painted miniatures.


After taking a time out, I came back and proceeded to clean up the mess and assess the damage.  I made three piles: minis that survived unscathed, those that just needed some glue to repair the damage and those that needed glue, paint and general TLC.  Only three minis are in the first pile.  The second pile contains about 1/3 of the minis with the remainder in the pile that will take more to repair. 



My miniatures took tens of hours (if not more) to complete and now I have to spend hours more trying to get them back into shape. The situation is disheartening.

With the help of my wife I have learned an important lesson from this.  Put simply, don’t be so damned cheap.  I went onto the internet in the hours after “the incident” and looked at carrying cases.  My wife asked me if the pile of rubble on the floor of the man cave was worth a couple of hundred dollars.  I replied that it used to be.  She gave me the look that said, “You already know the answer.”  I sighed and dropped over $200 on the skookum case below.  There will be no next time.


Thursday, February 14, 2013


I also could have titled this post “Hockeylicious”.  The past weekend was a holiday weekend here in BC.  We celebrated the first ever Family Day on February 11.  What better way to celebrate than to play in two hockey tournaments on the same weekend.  Due to a bit of a scheduling conflict I was signed up to play in an old timers tournament in Fort St. John and the Crystal Cup pond hockey challenge on Charlie Lake (about 10 minutes outside of the John).

I should quickly point out that I was turning 42 last weekend (told you it was busy), so my body does not recover from physical exertion as quickly as it once did.  So the schedule of 1 game Friday night, 3 on Saturday and 2 more on Sunday was a bit daunting.  Due to a scheduling SNAFU on the pond hockey end of things, I only ended up playing one game on Sunday.  Neither team I played for won much of anything other than one game each.  I had a lot of fun though.

The Crystal Cup is completely organised and staffed by volunteers.  The tournament does not aim to make a profit.  I must say, that the organisers did a fantastic job of getting everything (but scheduling) running smoothly.  There were even rinks for the kids to play and skate around on.  I saw a lot of people from town stop by the lake to check out the happenings even though they didn’t play hockey.  The Crystal Cup was truly a community event. 

The weather for the tournament was wonderful as well.  Last year, the Saturday portion of the event had to be crammed together with the Sunday because the weather was so bad you couldn’t see the rinks on the lake.  The Sunday was sunny and the wind was calm, but it was still below –30 Celsius.  I had the ends of two fingers that were numb for tow months after my last game.  I thought the feeling would never come back.  This year the temperature on the Saturday was right around 0 and unfortunately on the Sunday it was about 7 degrees which made the ice a bit treacherous.  All in all, the event was fantastic and I’m looking forward to next year.