Archive for October, 2011

I was finally able to get the paints I needed to start working on the main portion of my Karchev and Kodiak for the Paint It Pink Challenge – P3 Murderous Magenta and P3 Carnal Pink.  I’m using these colors because Plarzoid is using them for his own pink Khador – although I think our end results will be very different.  He’s going much brighter on the highlights than I think I’ll be doing, and the work that I’ve done so far already stands out as different.

The base beneath the pink is GW’s Codex Grey – a very light grey that works really well as a base coat for the lighter pinks that don’t work so well over black primer.  I then cover with two thin coats of Murderous Magenta, and then do two washes of a 2:1 Murderous Magenta:Carnal Pink mix.  I haven’t started the shading or highlighting yet, but I like it so far.  I’d also love to try doing some battle damage on the minis, since I think it will be an interesting contrast with the pink.  Not that Karchev himself in pink isn’t already an eye-opener.  For contrasting color I’m using Thornwood Green and Traitor Green, which will work well with the pink.

This last Thursday I had some games with Zerkova and the 35 point list I put together.  She’s accompanied by a Spriggan and Beast-09, two Greylord Ternions, and a full Winterguard unit with UA and Joe.  The games were… interesting.  My first game was against our Press Ganger using eFeora, and I made the mistake of sending the infantry first in a wave that was easily taken out, set on fire, and decimated.  Needless to say – I lost.  My next two games were also losses against another Menoth player using first eSeverious, and then Thyra.  The game against Thyra was closer, and in the end it came down to only a few miniatures per side.  I found that Watcher is an amazing spell for threatening the opponent, although with SPD 4 Khador ‘jacks there’s only so much I can do; at least both the warjacks I took have reach.  Daughters of the Flame are a frightening unit…

I’m not the greatest player in the world, and I’m definitely lacking in experience against most of the factions – in my previous meta, I was basically only playing against two of my buddies, one using Mercs consistently and the other switching between Cryx and Menoth for the most part.  Coming here to Atlanta and finding myself up against a meta of at least a dozen players, probably quite a few more, opens up all sorts of new challenges that I’m going up against.

I picked up Zerkova mainly because she gets so much flack on the forums, and I’m the sort of person who has a tendency to go against the norm when it comes to forum advice.  So she was appealing from the start.  I’d actually ordered her at my old LGS, but the order was never placed and I didn’t have a chance to pick up the miniature before moving to Atlanta.  She needs to be far forward, and while Khador usually has a lot of self-reliant units, I think that when using Zerkova the army needs to work more in concert to accomplish goals as a single unit, rather than allowing everything to work separately.  The Winterguard sprays are great for taking out multiple enemies, especially with Joe’s boosted attack rolls.  The Greylords are there for the same reason – sprays and their Blizzards to help cover the advance.  I’m looking forward to getting in more games and experience.

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We’ve been primal as a family since early September/late August, and I’m definitely seeing the benefits. I’ve lost 10 pounds since then, by eating well according to the diet, and doing only moderate exercise. The problem is, I’ve lost 10 pounds since then! I’m at the point where my size 34 jeans are slipping off my hips if I’m not careful. I can’t really afford to buy new ones right now, so I thought I would put up a sale in my Greyed Out Etsy shop to celebrate the weight loss. My loss(literally!) is your gain. Use coupon code MOARPANTS to get 20% off, and please spread the word to friends and family as well. I know the holidays are coming up, and at Greyed Out you’ll find a variety of items that might make great gifts. I sew excellent drawstring bags to hold dice, rune stones, jewelry, camera lenses, and much more. I also make art, and have prints available of everything except my ACEOs. My Renaissance shirts have been popular this autumn, and I’ve sold two in the last month – one even went to a wedding!
Speaking of Greyed Out, I’ve also added a “Like” button that leads to the Greyed Out Productions Facebook page. That should make it easier to keep up with what I post there on Facebook.

In Primal news, Mark Sisson’s new book, The 21-Day Total Body Transformation was just released, and I’ve already read through it. Like The Primal Blueprint, it gives great guidelines on following a primal diet and lifestyle. The 21-Day book, though, breaks down the information a bit and makes it easier to absorb, and the back of the book has a long checklist of things to do in order to go through the 21 days. Mark literally walks you through the process, and makes it easy for the reader to follow along simply by checking and following each step. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I found going primal to be wonderful. My wife and I were already largely eating real food, and had already cut out most of the processed stuff that makes up so much of a diet these days, so for us it was easier to switch over completely.

I’ve recently been playing with the idea of possibly doing a Kickstarter campaign for an art idea I had. I want to use Edward Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies as inspiration for a fairy-tale inspired version. Go through the alphabet, and illustrate the demises of various persons via fairy tale means. Lots of trolls, fairies, wolves, witches, and much more will make their appearances. It would draw from classic fairy tales like the Grimm’s and Hans Christian Anderson stories, but also from Norwegian and Swedish fairy tales, as well as others if I can find the research for them. I think that as well as being a wonderful project to illustrate, it would also be fun to research and sketch out the various illustrations. Does anyone have any advice or experience with Kickstarter? I know there are a few other crowd-funding platforms out there… would IndieGoGo be a better choice? I’m not yet 100% sure if I’m doing this project, but I’m really tempted to try. The Kickstarter campaign would allow me to get a small print run made…

Those are tonight’s thoughts… Halloween is coming up, and though we probably won’t dress up, it means spooky movies, candy, maybe a fire, and lots of pumpkin-flavored things. Lattes, anyone?

I’ve had a few people in other places ask about this, so I thought it would make a good article/blog post.  The Primal/Paleo diet focuses on the belief that we should all be eating like our ancestors from 10,000 years ago did. Lots of vegetables, meat, some fruits. No grains, legumes, pasta, sugar(aside from what you get in your fruits and veggies), and no processed foods. The reasoning behind this diet is that because farming is such a recent invention in terms of biological time, our species hasn’t yet adapted to properly digesting a lot of farmed products, like wheat and gluten, and it’s doing Bad Things to our bodies.
There are several resources available if you’re interested in trying the diet/lifestyle. Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf have both written books on the subject. Mark’s “The Primal Blueprint” and Robb’s “The Paleo Solution” go into details and on the reasoning and the science behind it, much more than I can. Mark’s Daily Apple is a great resource for those living the primal lifestyle, and he posts every day with helpful articles relating to diet, exercise, and life in general. Robb also has other resources available – I believe he does a weekly podcast and being Paleo.

For my wife and I, going Primal was easier than it might be for some. We had already been reading about real food diets; eating organic foods, staying away from processed products, cutting down on sugar, and generally trying to eat properly. When we decided to go primal, we’d already ditched 95% of the non-Primal foods in our pantry and fridge. A large part of why we went with real food and then Primal is because we’d been reading about how screwed up the food industry is right now. Corn is in almost every processed food on the grocery store shelves. The list of corn derivatives is as long as my arm, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to avoid. Corn also gets into your meat, because that’s what’s fed to cattle, chicken, pork, you name it. But this isn’t a post about corn, it’s about being primal.
As I said, by the time we went primal we’d already been visiting the farmer’s market regularly and sticking to as much organic food as possible. When we went primal at the beginning of September/late August we pretty much did it cold, from one day to the next. For me, all it took was reading the success stories on Mark’s Daily Apple – once a week he posts a success story sent in by a reader. Most of these include before and after pictures, and the transformation over as little as six months was astonishing. People report the disappearance of life-long health problems, improved energy levels, an ability to get better sleep, etc. It’s pretty amazing.
I used to drink my coffee with two teaspoons of sugar/mug, and stopped doing that cold turkey. It took me about a week and a half to get used to black coffee with just cream, but now I love it. I also thought I would miss bread and baked goods… but I don’t. I get hungry less often, and feel full for longer after meals. I’ve lost about 10 pounds since we started, and my utilikilt is getting too loose on me. And that’s in just a month and a half, give or take a week. People who offer up success story to Mark often report losing 60 or more pounds in half a year, while getting more toned up at the same time.
There is a small difference between the Primal and Paleo diets, in that on a Primal diet some dairy is ok – you’re going to want to go for the best dairy you can, so stick with whole milk, heavy cream, that sort of thing. Each diet also has what’s called the 80/20 rule; it’s ok to indulge every now and then in something non-primal, as long as you try to stick to the diet about 80+%.
It’s recommended that when you first try the diet, you go full in for a few weeks to see the changes in your body. That means no non-primal food for anywhere from 2 weeks to a month, because that way you can best see the changes in your body/energy levels/sleep/etc. Then, if you like, you can try reintroducing grains and such. The thing is, the body digests and processed your food completely differently on a primal diet, using energy the way it’s meant to use energy. I’ve read parts of the science behind it in both The Primal Blueprint and The Paleo Solution, and while I sort of understand it, I just go by the success story pictures I’ve seen as proof that it works.
What about exercise? Again, you’re going to try to emulate what our ancestors did. That means a lot of casual walking, with just a little bit of heavy lifting and sprinting thrown in. Apparently 10,000 years ago Man managed to “work” only about 10 hours a week – hunting, gathering food, and so on. He may have lifted heavy stuff, but he didn’t do it every day. Nor did he run every day. Kathryn and I have been walking about an hour a day 5 days a week. Recently we’ve slacked off a bit because she’s been working a lot of closing shifts. I keep meaning to start doing push-ups, but I keep forgetting…

Food-wise, you’re going to want to go with grass-fed beef, organic chicken and pork, and so on. The fewer chemicals in your meat, the better. Beef is meant to eat grass, not corn. Grass-[i]finished[/i] beef is better than grain-fed, while grass-fed is best of all. Grass-finished means that the cattle are fed grains and corn for most of their lives, and then switched to a diet of grass for a few weeks right before slaughter. As in every food chain, you are what you eat – so the grain-filled diet your beef eats also affects your body. And I know beef isn’t cheap; while grass-fed is best, if you can only get regular beef from the store while sticking with the primal diet, it’s better than nothing. We eat lots of veggies and salads as well – lots of greens, carrots, broccoli, kale. A big thing for those who are primal is coconut oil and coconut milk. While it might not strictly be what our ancestors ate, it’s really good for you. Go for the regular stuff, not the low-fat. On a primal diet, fat is good; our ancestors would have gone for the fatty cuts of meat before the lean ones, because fat provides energy.

I’m getting a bit tired, and I think I’m starting to ramble a bit, so I’m going to wrap this up. Let me finish by saying that there are lots of resources out there for eating and living in a primal fashion. We’ve found several great websites for Paleo recipes that are both healthy and delicious. I’m actually going to see if I can find some recipes for paleo pumpkin muffins/pie soon.
Feel free to ask questions, and I’ll try to answer as best I can.

Resources: 

Books: Mark Sisson just came out with a new book, the 21 Day Total Body Transformation. Apparently it’s pretty much exactly that, and it tells you exactly what you need to do/eat to be primal. He’s also got some free stuff that you get if you order the book. I’ll link to his website in the next section.

The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson
The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf

Websites:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/ – Lots of great articles and advice. Updates daily.

On Mark’s Daily Apple, you’ll want to start here. Seriously. It’s the name of the tab:
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/welcome-to-marks-daily-apple/

http://robbwolf.com/ – Robb Wolf’s website. The podcast is worth looking into. He also does good articles.

http://nomnompaleo.com/ Nom Nom Paleo. Delicious food. ’nuff said.

http://everydaypaleo.com/ Everyday Paleo.

It’s gloomy outside, temperatures falling along with the rain from an iron-grey sky.  The low tonight is 53 degrees, the high tomorrow 55.  Maybe this will finally mean decent fall temperatures for the rest of the season and into winter.  It’s the perfect weather for curling up on a couch with a bit of hot coffee or tea, or maybe a bowl full of delicious turkey chili verde.

I’ve finished a unit of Greylord Ternion for my planned Zerkova theme force, and have been working on painting Zerkova herself.  I wanted to go for a more muted color scheme, based on Cryx Bane Highlight, a muted greenish-grey.  That goes along with Thornwood Green, highlights of Hammerfall Khaki mixed with Cryx BH, and washes of Devlan Mud.  I think it came out fairly well.

I’m about to enjoy my second cup of coffee as I type this.  It’s a cool 55 degrees outside, and I wish it would stay that way all day long.  October is here, and the weather isn’t quite cooperating yet; we still have temperatures in the 70’s during the day.  It’s one of my favorite months, because it means Halloween, the coming of winter, and beautiful colors everywhere you look.  The bright oranges and reds of the trees bring out feelings of comfort, the desire to sit in front of a warm fire and sip a hot beverage, and the excitement of the holidays.

I’m rambling a bit, I know, but hopefully you’ll forgive me.  I didn’t set out with a clear plan when writing this post, I wanted to give an update.  Kathryn and I are doing well, though the second bedroom is still empty.  I’m not quite sure if we plan to keep it empty, or if we will be looking for a roommate.  I’ve not been drawing as much lately, because I’ve been painting miniatures again.  For my store I’ve made another crooked house; this time it’s the Fairy House – Gingerbread Edition.  I also still have these little Spooky Ghost Plushies available, and I’m rather fond of how they turned out.

I decided the other day that what I’d like to do is focus a bit more on gaming-related items.  I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons and various other roleplaying games since high school, and it’s part of me as much as my costume skills are.  I sketched an ogre the other day, sitting at a bar drinking coffee and complaining about the adventurers who burst down his door.  I liked it so much that I’m going to do more of the same – I’d like to call it Adventuring Inn, and have a series of illustration that are very D&D themed in nature.  They’d all feature the same location, the bar or tables in the inn.  Why not capitalize on what I’m good at?

While I’m talking about gaming, I might as well put up a quick reminder – I have a section for Drawstring Bags in my Etsy.  Gamers always need a good, sturdy dice bag, and I stand by the construction of mine.

I’ve been painting my Warmachine miniatures again, after finding my mojo.  I tend to go through periodic spells where I have no interest whatsoever in playing or painting my miniatures, and then suddenly I’ll come across something that will get me 100% interested in the hobby again.  The nice thing about miniatures is that they’re always there for you, and don’t disappear just because you’re busy with something else.

I’ve mentioned my interest in a Zerkova Tier 4 list before, and the other day I pulled out a Greylord and primed him to test out my color scheme for the Zerkova list.  The base color will be Cryx Bane Highlight – a greenish grey that’s nice and muted.  Accent this with my standard dried-blood red armor color, and add a few tertiary colors in small doses, and I think I have my new scheme.  I spent a few hours today getting base coats down, and was able to paint his gloves in an interesting color as well.  It didn’t occur to me that the Greylords will have grey cloaks, which ties in a bit to the Harry Dresden Files – the Wardens there wear grey cloaks, and are a sort of police force of battle wizards that keep order in the White Council(of wizards).  So I thought it was fitting that I was unintentionally outfitting my Greylord Ternions in grey.  I think I like how it’s turning out so far – I have plans to highlight the Cryx Bane Highlight with a bit of Hammerfall Khaki mixed in, and it will get shaded with Thornwood Green I think.  The blue gloves are a Firefly reference – “two by two, hands of blue”, though of course Greylords come in threes.

The other project is Karchev and the Paint It Pink challenge.  I’ve taken some picture of Karchev(in pieces).  The grey areas are ones which will be painted pink as soon as I can pick up my paints from the LGS.  The greens are a base of Thornwood Green with a light coating of Traitor Green on top, and will stay green as an accent color.  I’m hoping it works out as well as I think it will.  The metallics are done in Brazen Brass, and Boltgun Metal.  The Boltgun Metal was washed with P3 Armor Wash, and will get highlighted up again, I think .

Last but not least, I have a fairy/witch house that I’m working on.  I was going to paint it in Halloween-themed colors, with green slime running up the walls, but as I was laying down the base white colors for the slime, I realized it looked more like a gingerbread house, and so it will probably remain.  I’m excited to finish this little house and get it listed in my Etsy shop.

That’s it for today’s update – thanks for reading!  I hope to have the test Greylord finished soon, and I’ll update as well with Karchev news.

I’ve been busy the past few days working on a few things.  One of these is the new Fairy Tale Forest illustration in my Etsy shop. I’m offering an 8×10 print for now, and may add 5×7 prints later. This was a lot of fun to illustrate, and I liked doing all the trees and adding various smaller details. If you look around, you’ll see mushrooms, a skull, a badger den, and so on in the scene. I don’t think the goblins are terribly well hidden, either. 😉

I’ve been working on my Warmachine miniatures as well. The pink paints haven’t arrived at my local game store yet, so for now I’m focusing on the other colors on the miniatures – the metallics and so on. The pink will actually be painted on a grey undercoat, so all the areas that will be pink had to be done in grey first.
I finished a Berserker warjack as well, and took some pictures of that, and those are down below.
I’ve been thinking about starting a Tier 4 Zerkova list, which would include a lot of Greylord Ternion units, several units of Kayazy Assassins, and a small number of warjacks in Zerkova’s battle group. One of the big benefits that her Tier 4 list gives is a 2″ deployment zone increase, which can be huge with fast models like the Kayazy. I also rather like the idea of a huge group of Greylord wizards, all sending out icy sprays and clouds to block line of sight. I’ve even given the color scheme some thought, and I think I want to use my standard dried-blood, rusty red, along with muted greys/dirty creams for the miniatures. Maybe I’ll experiment with Cryx Bane Highlight, because that’s almost the grey I have in mind. I have no game experience with Zerkova at all, but I’d love to learn how to use her in the game – she seems like a really excellent warcaster with lots of abilities to mess with your opponent.

If anyone wants to commission me for any illustration or miniature painting, please feel free to email at greylikestorms (at) me.com or reply here in the comment section. I’d even be open to painting miniatures in exchange for new miniatures.