Adventures in Renovations – Part 1

I’ve made a lot of progress at getting the former storage room/future nursery cleared out.  With luck, I should be able to get that finished late tonight, or early tomorrow.  Part of the process has been going through a comic collection and culling a LOT of stuff that I don’t need, which I am taking up to the shop, to sell for a dollar apiece.

The next step is going to be to move everything from the library into the nursery, so I can put down new flooring.  I’ve never put down flooring, and that’s why this is going to be an adventure.  A friend is going to coach me on the cutting.  I think I’ll do ok with it.  It’s the locking laminate from allen + roth, and I’m really looking forward to it.

The chore, I think, is going to be getting the bookshelves and table out of the room.   Hopefully, once I’m done, the room will look nice enough to take pictures of.

Getting ready for baby

Earlier I mentioned that we are re-flooring a major portion of the house before we are joined by our daughter. Part of that meant removing the carpet that was in our hallway. Once the carpet was out, we decided that the ugly wallpaper needed to go as well.

Removing the wallpaper revealed a few interesting holes in in the wall that needed patched. So, currently we’re at a stage where we have all the wallpaper down, all the holes patched, bare floors, and partially painted trim.

My mother came over after I got off work today, and we finished the trim. Going to take a stab at getting the wall painting done tomorrow evening. I’m sure it’s not going to be a stellar job, but at least I can say “I did that”.

Flooring the library is going to be a chore. The library has eight tall bookshelves lining two walls, a computer workbench, and a large dining room table in the center of the room. There’s also a closet that has an arcade game sticking out of it. I have no idea what I’m going to do with all of it.

Here are a few pictures I took in the library last week while I was cleaning.








The Nursery Project — Part 1

We live in a three bedroom house. You’d think it would be easy to turn one of them into a nursery. I suppose it would, if any of them weren’t filled with stuff. The largest bedroom in the house has, for the last 5 years, been a storage room. We decided this would be the nursery.

I’ve made several stabs at getting it cleared out, but I’ve still not succeeded, though I am making progress. The room has been a catch-all for a number of things. A comic collection, a (dwindling) toy collection (collectible toys), computer parts, and and is also the resting place for anything that came out of the shop either of times we’ve moved or temporarily closed down.

As I’ve been going through this room, I’ve thrown away a lot of things that I kept “because I might need it”, and given away a lot of things that I felt someone else might be able to appreciate more than I can.

I’m trying not to be such a packrat. I don’t collect comics like I used to, I don’t collect toys at all anymore. I turn down opportunities to expand those collections. I’ve been going through the comic collection, trimming it way down, and taking books up to the shop to sell.

I’ve still got a lot to do in that room, and I hope I can get through it soon. Time is running out,


It’s been over a year since I posted here. That doesn’t mean I’ve been quiet, but it does mean that I need to rethink the exact purpose of this blog. At one point, I was going to use this as a modeling and painting diary for my Warhammer collection. I’ve really had little time or energy to work on those projects, though.

A lot has happened since the last time I’ve posted here. After trying for a few years, my wife and I are expecting our first child (at the beginning of March). We’ve taken on a manager at our game store, and right now, he’s doing almost all of the day-to-day running of it.

We’ve replaced the fixtures in one bathroom, and the floors in 3 rooms, so far, with at least 2 more to go. We have a nursery to prepare, and time is running out.

Additionally, various factors have us visting a high-risk OB for the duration of this pregnancy. She’s now going twice a week, which and I’m able to join her on the Monday visits.

With the new year, I’ve committed to writing more often, which has thus far presented itself in shop and gaming related blogging. I’ve started a gaming community site at , and still maintain a blog for Legends Family and Hobby Games. I’m also developing a couple of board games, one of which is in the prototype stage. I’ll be journaling that journey at Dragon Pro Studios. I’m going to use this space to handle my personal blogging, though I will still maintain another spot for journaling what I consider to be “private” thoughts, as well.

Next post will be about some of the things I’ve changed in my life, recently.

The beginning, October, 2011

Over the last few months, I’ve decided to theme my two warhammer armies in the colors of the province of Averland. This is a black and yellow color scheme, which I’m discovering to be one of the most difficult combinations to make look natural.

I’ve made several falst starts, mostly using older style (6th edition boxed set) Empire handgunners. I believe I’ve posted pictures of them elsewhere. So far, while I’ve been minorly happy with them, I want to improve my skills. To this end, this is my modeling, basing, and painting blog.

What I’ve tried:

This project kinda got started when I took an older style Marius Lietdorf figure and sorta converted it to a Wight King.

I’m not COMPLETELY unhappy with it, but I really dislike most of the cloth involved, both on the horse, and on Marius himself. Additionally, I feel I could have done better with the skull.

Marius was painted over black primer. A reaper HD yellow, washed with Devlan mud, highlighted again with that yellow, and then with a mix of skull white and that yellow.

Next came the handgunners:

Some of them were primed in black, about halfway through the process, I decided to prime some of them with The Army Painter’s Daemonic Yellow. Both came out about the same. These were also washed with devlan mud. Overall, for rank and file, I’m ok with them, and considering I’m not a big fan of the overall detail of the figs anyway, they’ll do.

But as I move to newer, more detailed models, I want to handle them better.

The gunners were also the first models I actually based. This basing job isn’t very good, I’m aware of that.

So far, I’ve not been happy with any of my basing efforts. Here’s what I have available:

GF9 foliage flock, seen above.

Citadel Glade Grass static grass

Citadel Scorched Grass static grass

Citadel Modeling Sand

GF9 medium gravel (A little bigger than I wanted)

and some model train scenic gravel, about the same size as the GF9.

At the beginning of September, Carpe Noctem forum held a conversion/painting mini-competition. The goal: Turn an Empire Knightly Orders knight to a wight king or black knight. I submitted another averland model:

I was pretty happy with him, before I painted him. It’s not the most creative head to use, but…

The horse is from a Reaper necropolis sergeant, the legs, torso, and weapon arm are empire knightly order. The head is a helmeted skeleton from Tomb Kings type skeletons. The left arm is a tomb kings archer arm, and the shoulderpad is an old plastic space marine. Not visible, but really my favorite part of this, is his neck. I took the spinal column and part of the shoulderblades of the tomb kings skeleton, and cut it to fit the neck hole in the armor. The head is attached to the spinal column.

I really liked this model, as I said. Until I painted him.

So now here’s where I am:

I want to understand color theory a bit better, and understand highlighting and especially cloth effects.

I haven’t mentioned this elsewhere here, but I’m colorblind, and occasionally make pretty bad color mistakes (An example being not really being able to see a difference between Rotting Flesh and Bleached Bone, so I have to be careful.)

I plan to work my way through several tutorials I’ve found on the web, as well as the How to Paint Citadel Miniatures book. I am also hoping for pointers from some of the wonderful painters I’ve seen both on Carpe Noctem and

So here we go.

The yard sale

So we found ourselves needing to have a yard sale for a few reasons. The big reason is we’re trying to save up some money, but we also have a storage room filled with stuff that frankly, we just don’t need. Over the last week or so, we’ve been gathering boxes of things that we want to get rid of, and hauling them up to the shop.

We decided to have the yard sale at the shop for a couple of reasons. It’s easier, for one. We already have tables there, and space that we can set everything up. It has made the gaming a little more difficult, though, as 5 of our 7 rectangle gaming tables are being used for non-gaming purposes. Another reason is the potential for rain. We set up on the sidewalk and inside the storefront, and could move inside if the rain were an issue. It also gives us the chance to tell people about what we do at Legends. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told "I didn’t know this place was here" or seen people peek in, look confused, and leave.

We’re running it for four days, from 8am til whenever. On Friday, whenever was 7pm; Saturday, it was 5. I’m already exhausted, and we’ve got two more days of it. We’ve not sold any of the big stuff yet, but I’m patient, and hopeful.

Oh, and I’ve spent the evening tonight unearthing more things to sell in the storage room. I finally had to give up. But who knows, maybe I’ll find more tomorrow.

Friday Night Musings

I find that I keep wanting to write about my stressful week. I’ve resolved to do so, once everything is done. Until then, all I can really say is… Wow, I’m stressed.

I’m sitting at Legends right now, waiting for the final round of Friday Night Magic to end. Jamie and I are holding an indoor yard sale here this weekend, which is going for four days. It means being here at 8am, and staying long into the day, possibly late into the night. It is, indeed, contributing to our stress.

We’re trying to keep the shop operational during this, and so far, it’s working ok. I would have preferred a bit more of a turnout for the event, but I’ll take what I can get.

I can’t say much about why we’re stressed, yet. But I can say this: I am unbelievably grateful for the friends and family that I have. A core group of our friends have really rallied around us during these events, and I’m truly blessed by them.

I’m hoping the rest of our shop regulars can get involved as well. We’ve done our best to impress upon them the importance of the situation. I’m not sure they quite understand, though, and I guess the fact that I can’t explain it very well only makes that worse.

The other thing I am grateful is Jamie. She has been amazing through all of this. The situation has been so emotional, and she’s got a lot going on as well. I can’t say enough how much her presence in my life has made me a better person.

I’m sure I’m rambling, I just needed put some of my thoughts down on paper (virtual or otherwise).

Legacy of the Guardians

Our two-year campaign “Guardians of the Pass” recently came to a halt. We only got to mid-paragon level, but there’s more to their story than that. We decided to fade out the story, and let the next campaign take up the trail, in the same overall setting, 20 years later.

Meet the as-yet-unnamed group in the Legacy of the Guardians campaign:

It has been 20 years since the legendary Guardians of the Pass helped defend Talon Pass from the advancing dragonarmies. Several settlements around the fledgeling city were destroyed, and Talon Pass welcomed the refugees with open arms. In the intervening 20 years, Talon Pass has grown quite a bit. Were any of the original Guardians to show up, they’d be hard pressed to recognize the formerly ruined fort. The Pass was liberated by the Guardians, and they took up the task of turning it back into a settlement. They met a disgraced knight by the name of Sir Derrick. After taking his measure in battle, offered him the job of stewarding the rebuilding effort. He accepted, and under him, Talon Pass has thrived.

Derrick has recently retired, and the Council of Talon Pass has been formed to manage the government of the small city. He is still a consultant to the council.

Derrick’s son, Mikel (played by Robert) was pushed into the Talon Pass militia at a young age, to curtail his wild ways. He has since grown into a fine young officer. Having fulfilled his oath of service, he now believes it is time to see the world. Derrick suggested he contact the daughter of his friend, Tam (see below).

Derrick also adopted a young minotaur into his family, shortly after the attack of the dragonarmies. Asteron (played by Thomas) doesn’t remember much of his mother, but he knows he was traveling with her some time before he was found and taken to Talon Pass. In truth, his mother was traveling with the dragonarmies, and left him in a safe place before the battle of Talon Pass. She perished in the battle, and Asteron was left alone in the world. A scouting party found the calf, and took him to Derrick for a decision what to do with him. Remembering how he had been given a second chance from a bad situation, Derrick resolved to take him in. Learning the common language, and the knight’s code from Derrick, Asteron has grown up with a code of honor that Mikel never quite grasped. He has agreed to join Mikel and the others to keep Mikel out of trouble.

Rolen (played by Louis) has not been in Talon Pass very long. He was left in the care of traveling missionaries by his elven father. He doesn’t remember his mother, a half-orc adventuress who took advantage of his elven father, and then left the product of their union on his doorstep. The missionaries eventually settled in Talon Pass for a while, and Rolen decided to stay. His father instilled in him a pretty severe mistrust of women, and Nynaeve is the only female he has really ever grown to trust and respect. Rolen has heard rumors of a fey “Ice Queen” who has been enslaving men and children somewhere in the vale, and has offerend to travel with Nynaeve and her friends, in hopes of tracking down this “Ice Queen.”

Elm Brighthawk (played by Russ) was a young member of a nomadic band of elves who sought out dark artifacts to destroy them. They had learned of some relics associated with the keep at Talon Pass, and were there investigating them when the dragonarmies attacked. Only Elm and one other member survived. Elm learned that the artifacts in Talon Pass had already been destroyed, and settled in the upstart town, with no new “mission”. He too, has agreed to join Nynaeve, if only to get moving again.

Thoradin Soulsmith (played by Matthew) came from Forges Heart with a small group of dwarves set on helping Talon Pass rebuild after the dragonarmy attack. He met Tam when his family arrived from Hillside, and was taken with the righteousness of the former miner. He dedicated his life to protecting Tam and his family, and now sets out with Tam’s daughter, Nynaeve, as she sets out to lend aide to the people of Elsir Vale.

Nynaeve (played by Jamie) came to Talon Pass when her family fled Hillside during the dragonarmy attacks. Her father had been a miner and retired soldier. He met Skyeriven and was inspired by her teachings following the attacks. He took up the cloth of the clergy, and became Talon Pass’s dwarven priest of Bahamut. Nynaeve grew up at his feet, and has learned a reverence for all life. She seeks to lend aide to those in the vale who are still struggling after the attacks. She also wishes to learn what ever happened to the Guardians of the Pass, who disappeared without a trace shortly after they defended Talon Pass.

They are now taking a few jobs to gain funds for their travels, then the true adventure will begin.

A Legendary Journey

This isn’t the first blog I’ve started. Nor is it the second. I have a terrible habit of starting a journal, posting a few times, then getting distracted by something shiny and new, and forgetting about the old blog.

So today I’d like to share a bit about Legends.

Legends (Or Legends Games of Vincennes) kinda got it’s start as Midwest Comics. In 1994 I worked for Midwest Comics, and in 1996, it was sold, and I soon went to work for the new owner. Midwest Comics carried Magic: the Gathering, but in 1996, we started carrying more games. By 1998, I became part owner. For reasons I can’t even begin to recall or explain, we changed the name to Onyx Dragon. Onyx Dragon operated from 1998 until 2000, and was frequently mistaken for a chinese restaurant. In 2000 we moved to a new, spacious location, and changed the name to Dragon Pro Games. To this day, I’m not sure what a “dragon pro” is, but I think it might be an escort service for the scaley set. When we moved, we also sold all of our comic back issues, and stopped carrying comics altogether. We operated there until early 2002, when the building we were in was sold, and we were forced to move (That also happened to Midwest Comics in 1996).

For a very short time, we remained open in a small (very small) office next door. During this time, we also provided dial-up internet service. The office was too small, and needed too much work, though, and we closed a few months later.

In 2003, my then-girlfriend and I almost partnered with a friend of mine to open up a small gaming and bookstore. We thought a one-word name would be good for that, and thus Legends was born. We had secured the building, but lost our partner, and Legends quickly became a gaming only store. It operated from March until November of 2003. This time, the closure was related to the inability to heat the building. I was buying the building from my father, and the furnace for the first floor was so inefficient, the first gas bill we got (early in the year) was nearly 600 dollars. We had the gas shut off and hoped we’d have a better solution by winter. We didn’t find one. When I closed, I swore I was done. It was too heartbreaking to close our doors. We had a very loyal crowd, and it was very much like losing friends.

To that end, in 2005, I hauled hundreds of roleplaying books to GenCon, to sell in the Auction. We also volunteered that year, and we made enough off the books to pay for the trip, but not much more.

So of course, in the summer of 2006, I was missing it. A few friends had asked if I’d like to try opening a gaming center again, and I needed a distraction. The girlfriend from 2003 had become my wife, and things weren’t going very well. I didn’t want to set up a full-blown shop again, so I tried a different approach: I set up gaming space, and started carrying a few new comics every week, as well as packs and decks of Magic. Everything else, we could special-order on demand.

It worked fairly well. We quicly outgrew our space, but stuck with it until we found a space we liked. We found it in a building that once housed one of vincennes few bookstores (and the place where I bought comics in junior high), so I found that a wonderful bit of nostalgia. We moved there in 2008. By then I had A: Divorced, B: Met Jamie, and C: Moved her here. She took to the management of the shop in no time, and grew it into something wonderful: A community center for the nerdy set, and a fun place to be.

But heating always seems to be our nemesis, and in the fall of 2009, we decided to pack it in, once again. But this time, it was a planned temporary thing. We continued to run regular tournaments at the coffee/ice cream place across the street, and kept our eyes out for a better location.

I never stray far from Main street, and our home presented itself to us in April of 2009. Two doors down from our previous spot, a space opened up that was almost twice as big as our former location. It needed (and still needs) work, but we put up shelves, painted alcoves, rebuilt the bathroom, and brought in our tables.

We went back to the “Gaming Center First” motif, and made the whole thing a part-time job for us, since we both have full-time jobs that keep us pretty busy. Again, it has thrived, and thanks to some dedicated volunteers, we keep a fairly active schedule, with roleplaying groups, board game fans, and card game players all spending a fair anount of time with us.

We now have the opportunity to make the building our permanent home, as we are trying to buy it. It needs work, some pretty serious work, as soon as we get it. But we love the place, and we will do everything we can to make it a great place for our extended family.

One last thing… This is something I’m really proud of. A couple of weeks ago, we acquired 4 more tables, and 38 new chairs, all from the local school corporation, who had a sale/giveaway of older equipment that didn’t move to the new school with them. It brings our table count up to 11, and we can now support several separate groups at the same time.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I wrote it mostly so I’ll never forget the parts of the journey that have brought me to the wonderful point my life is at now. All of them, the good and the bad, are stepping stones in the river of memory.

Surprises, part 2

It was a pretty good weekend.  The driving is the only thing that sucked.  I’ll admit, I’m not the one that drives when we go on long trips. The road tends to put me to sleep.  So, Jamie gets stuck with the driving duty most of the time.  We arrived at her mom’s house at 12:30 Friday night/Saturday morning and immediately went to bed.  Saturday, we had a light breakfast and went to the city for lunch and shopping.

The lunch was the highlight of the shopping trip.  We went to the FlatTop Grill, which is an amazing stir-fry place.   I ate way too much, but it was wonderful.  Saturday evening, we spent a bit of time teaching her sister to play Magic: The Gathering.  Sunday we had a big family lunch, made by Jamie’s sister, and then gathered around for gift opening.

Jamie’s first surprise from me was a Cthulhu Dice Bag, hidden in a large D&D Miniatures booster pack box.  She was a little disappointed it wasn’t minis, but loved the dice bag.

After an all-too-short weekend, we got back on the road to head home.  We made a pitstop at Fry’s along the way.  I’d never been to a Fry’s before.  Holy Carp!  That place is huge.  We picked up a couple of useful gadgets, the new Photoshop User magazine, and an overwhelmed feeling.  The second surprise came after our long drive home.

First a bit of backstory:  In the fall of 2009, our roommates (a couple) at the time offered to remodel our smaller bathroom.  We tore out the flooring, the upper cabinets, and they took down all the tile.  Then the couple broke up.  She moved out, and he stayed behind.  Over the course of the next year, bits of work got done on the bathroom, but it never quite got finished.  When we left for the weekend, the drywall was up, but not finished or painted, trim wasn’t the light fixtures weren’t up, the tub wasn’t properly sealed.  But we had the new flooring down, the new toilet in, the tub-surround, etc.

When we got home, Jamie found that the bathroom had been painted and the tub had been sealed.  It wasn’t QUITE the finished product I had hoped for, but my friends were only able to come over on Saturday and not Sunday. So we’re closer, and it was a good surprise.  Her other surprises aren’t anything spectacular, but I’m sure I’ll mention them in a future post.