Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Promised Myself I Wouldn’t Blog About the Hiatus…

And yet I still feel somewhat obligated to offer somewhat of an explanation to the five readers who stuck around…

What exactly compels a man to cease blogging? Many things: the perpetual give and take of busyness and laziness, a lack of inspiration, the siren call of the television, blah, blah, blah, but most of all, THIS: Well this can't end well. What you’re looking at here is a pack of miniature Warhammer 40K figurines (Space Wolf Grey Hunters, to be precise) intended for one purpose only: to conquer my tabletop gaming opponent. They may not look impressive, but bear in mind that these snarling fellows came completely unassembled and had to be painstakingly glued together piece by piece. They arrived looking like THIS:And I haven’t even primed or painted ‘em yet. And if you think that’s bad, it gets worse. Oh so much worse.

See, this cringe-worthy endeavor started a few weeks back. Driving to an annual fly fishing trip with a few buddies, a friend asked me if I was interested in an exceedingly geeky activity. Now let me tell you, this man is a total menace. He’s living every 13 year old’s dream: he’s 30, gainfully employed as a lawyer, and has more than enough spare cash to indulge himself in a myriad of hobbies. We’re talking R/C cars & planes, comic books, online gaming, modeling, etc. At one point he had even approached me about renting apartment space in Manhattan for the sole purpose of building a model railroad layout. Like I said, he’s a menace. No man should have this kind of freedom to indulge themselves.

And so he told me about Warhammer 40,000. For those not in the know, (99.99997% of the human population), Warhammer 40K is a British invention and is essentially a precursor to modern day RPG videogames. Only the Brits would come up with something as quirky as this. How does it work? One creates an army on paper, assigns each model attributes, carefully adhering to a set of rules governing each faction, then goes about physically assembling a battleforce consisting of a certain point value. Once you’re all done (this can take months or even years) you duke it out against an opponent’s army by rolling die, assigning hits, and tallying up damage. If you’re a stats freak, it’s an engaging endeavor, kind of like Strat-O-Matic baseball, because you’re essentially doing all the work that a computer would normally do. Oh joy.

It’s all very low-tech and brutally demanding of the participant. Just getting a 40K army builder software program to run involved actually downgrading to an old Pentium II computer that was collecting dust in the apartment. (shockingly, the program doesn’t run on Apple’s OSX).

But being the easily susceptible type, my buddy totally convinced me to get into it. For my army, I’ve selected Space Wolves, because let’s be honest here, if you’re going to build some sort of futuristic space army, it damned well better incorporate wolves somehow. Best as I can figure based on the literature I’ve come across, Space Wolves worship some dude named “Russ,” and like yelling a lot and attacking things. And also drinking lots of Space Wolf mead and presumably neglecting their Space Wolf wives.

If getting married makes a man seem attractive to women as some claim, then engaging in an activity like this completely negates whatever net gains I would’ve made. Here, I’ll break it down in 40K statistical terms:

Marital Viability: -2
Societal Worth: -7
Useless Esoteric Knowledge: +9
Relationship Saving Throw: -17

You get the idea. It’s nerdtacular. I’ve already been exchanging emails with a buddy who uses sentences like “and don’t even get me started on trying to pin down Eldar skimmers.”

Moreover, the stats side of it is just half of the picture. If you’re a hobbyist, this lets you go hog wild: filing down individual components, meticulously gluing them together, spending hours painting tiny details, etc… Anytime you can alarm your landlady by wandering around outside wearing a surgical mask and spraying a 1” tall figurine with an aerosol primer, it’s a good time.

[LENGHTY ASIDE: Things have been rather eventful in the apartment recently. I thought our landlady had died last week when I left the apartment Monday morning and noticed a terrible smell. It was as if a sewage line had ruptured in a Roman vomitorium. Fashioning myself as a bit of an expert on smells, unable to place this horrific one, and realizing that our landlady is of an advanced age, I made the seemingly logical conclusion that she had perished several days ago and her decomposing body was causing the terrible odor. I’ve seen enough police dramas to know how these sorts of things happen. I spent the entire commute to work rehearsing just the right tone of solemnity in which I would deliver my official statement to the police (“yes officer, she was a kind woman who lived an active and social life… I last saw her two days ago”) before I called Erika to ask that she investigate the rotting landlady problem. Meanwhile I weighed the ramifications of how this dead landlady issue would impact our search for a house. Erika of course knocked on her door at 7AM and totally startled our landlady out of the shower, and it was discovered that the smell emanated from the garbage outside. Never a dull moment. END LENGHTY ASIDE]

But getting back to my fledgling pack of space wolves, they’re coming along nicely. I’ll update you with their progress as I go, because I’m certain you’re just gagging for it…

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13 comments:

George said...

Welcome back to the virtual world that doesn't come with figurines you assemble yourself! And your email quote reminds me of a friend who once wrote computer games and was aghast one day as he realized the last lines he wrote before leaving work were "Die, mammal, die!"

Bob said...

I think we are all owed an explanation abou tthe house.

Adam said...

Are you going to get an airbrush kit from Michael's Arts & Crafts store? I was looking at one the other week, thinking "What on Earth could I airbrush?" But I've got nothin!!!!

Rickey Henderson said...

Bob, true, an account of the housing situation is owed. In case you didn't see it in the previous post, we have ourselves an accepted offer! I've been using the adjective "cute" a lot to describe this house, because goddamnit that's what it is. Just an terrific starter home--we're very excited. We hope to be in there in about 2 months.

Adam, I've already scoured Micheals once this week. A self healing pad was purchased (ideal for cutting on) as well as some glue, exacto blades, and other stuff I can't remember at the moment. An airbrush? Bah, that's for noobs. I'm handpainting these Space Wolves myself, thank you very much.

Rickey Jr. said...

how many man hours does it take to make one of those figurines?

steves said...

As someone who plays the infinitely superior (to Warhammer, at least), Warmachine, I can sympathize. Considering that I also play other wargames, I can doubly sympathize. Thankfully, I am an awful painter, so a friend does all my stuff.

Rickey Henderson said...

Jr: man hours? None. Man-child hours? Roughly 1 per figure (to glue together)

Bob "Melon" Melonosky said...

What is a bigger waste of a human's time?

Blogging or building dozens of little plastic wolves or blogging about building dozens of little plastic wolves or commenting about blogging about building dozens of little plastic wolves.

If you were painting dozens of Russian T-34's and wanted to know what color gray to use for the soot on the exhaust pipes -- then I could help you.

Bob said...

I am too busy removing perfectly good parts from my bicycle and replacing them with lighter, cooler, more exotic titanium and carbon parts that cost three times as much to get into such a childish and expensive endeavor.

Mrs. Smitty said...

Rickey - please extend my invitation to your wife to join my "our husbands are TOTAL geeks" club. Smitty is involved with Steves on his "hobby" The wives get together to commiserate and drink =)

LOBO said...

Good ta see ya again!

If it makes ya feel any better, I was a D&D freak, comic books, the whole thing -until an age I'll enigmatically neglect in this comment.

The truth is it was fun. I would probably still do it if I had time and the $$$ ...

Smitty said...

Welcome back! We missed you so, but enjoy your rants over at ATK.

As for WH 40k...I, along with Steve and some others, as Steve pointed out, play Warmachine. Best tabletop game ever.

But I have a save against my negative stats...beer. For yesterday, in 30 minutes, I converted an old dorm fridge into a kegerator to fit a homebrew keg and CO2 system. Go check out ATK for the fun.

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