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Busy year. I can't believe November is almost over and therefore 2009. Yikes.

During the first half of this year, I was painting miniature figures like crazy. I cranked out a couple hundred of them, but have slowed down considerably since June. The new Warhammer Skaven book comes out soon with a new Doomwheel and Plague Furnace model, so I might just have to jump in and buy that.


My Excel site sits neglected since I ran out of time at work to keep it updated. To be honest, since I got promoted in January, I haven't been doing as much data analysis as I used to, which results in the lack of new things to write about. I really should add a note just to let people know the site is still live. I still refer to it for examples of operations I can't remember how to write.


In June, I discovered a new game, Wizard 101. That's been taking up most of my time. Good game. My kids got me into it and now I've taken over the account.


Two days, no plans, just myself. It was quite nice to have the house to myself to get some house cleaning, filing, gaming, figure painting, and gardening. It's a reminder how refreshing it is to just get out of the normal routine every now and then.

We had a pretty interesting weekend. It started out with the company Easter Party, which the kids always enjoy. This was the first year since 2006 where the weather was good enough for the egg hunt to be held outside.

After the party, we drove down to the Novato cheese factory Rouge et Noir for a picnic lunch out by the pond. Unfortunately, the tours of the cheese factory are shut down, probably for another year, while they remodel and expand. At least I know where it is now.

On Sunday, the kids wanted to go hiking on Angel Island. It sure is more expense than I remember. Adult ferry tickets are $13.50 and kids 6-12 are $11.50. We negotiated their fare to $11.50 for both of them. Parking was another $14.00. To top it off, there were only two ferries coming back. We got their at 10:30 and had a choice of a 1:30 or a 3:30 return ferry.

Anyways, we decided to visit the Immigration Center, which was the clearing station for Asian immigrants way back when. It was newly opened in February after a lengthy renovation, but tours didn't start until April ... talk about poor timing. Oh well, it was still pretty neat to walk around and look at the grounds. It was a lot smaller than I expected.

For Matthew, I think the highlight of the trip was the opportunity to throw rocks into the water at the beach by the Immigration Center. All in all, we probably hiked 3 miles with 400 feet of elevation climbed. The kids did pretty good, though I think we may all be sore after the weekend.

My local game store ran a finish-an-army-challenge. Goal was to for each participant to finish a block of 750 points each month. Blocks would be judged at the end of each period for progress against where you started from. Prizes were awarded for 1) People's Choice, 2) completion points (progress against baseline, quality, bonus unit, scenery, etc), and lastly 3) the horde award for the most figures.

The challenge actually dragged out longer than expected and ran a total of 5 months. Over that 5 months, I finished 138 Tyranids (3,100 points) in addition to another 108 Orks. Here are the fruits of my labors.

Happily, I took the 1 of 3 prizes for points, 1 of 3 prizes for People's Choice and was People's Choice runner up the other 2 times. All in all, an excellent experience.

As a part of my efforts, I also kept a running blog: http://www.kan.org/michael/mkp/build_an_army.php and wrote up a series of how-to articles, all of which are indexed in a Tyranid compendium on my site: http://www.kan.org/michael/mkp/tyranids.php

In addition, I finally got in my first game of Warhammer 40K 5th edition, albeit a small one (only 1000 points). It's been ages since I last played a full game. But it was a lot of fun, especially since Matthew and Benjamin got to participate. Benjamin helped me on the Tyranid side and Adan (the Space Marine player) was kind enough to let Matthew help him out.

Quotable quote. The guys at Endgame have been teasing me about my figure throughput and surmising that I must be putting Matthew and Benjamin to work. Not so, they have their own figures to paint.

After 5 long months, I'm finally in the home stretch. We have a week left before our Block 3 figures get judged and the Warhammer 40K Endgame Finish an Army Challenge is done. We started in the middle of October with the intention of 750 points each month for 3 months. A couple of extensions later, due to holidays, the overall time frame stretched out to 5 months, which also gave me the opportunity to knock out some extra figures, including 100+ Orks. With only a week left, here's where I stand with my last block of 25 Tyranids.

Once everything is wrapped up, I'll take a full picture of everything all assembled and on the table.

Along with the painting, I've also maintained a blog of my progress and a wrote up a full compendium of "how to" articles for anyone else who has a desire to start a Tyranid army.

I'm on a deadline. I have to get 25 figures finished by March 7th, which is the completion date for the Endgame Finish an Army Challenge. I'm struggling to get in the time I need to paint because I've been distracted by Spore. I finally finished the Space stage and found that it sucks up waaaaay more time than the other stages I've played. Hopefully I can knock out of a bunch of stuff this weekend.

Matthew flying solo on Portal. He kept wanting to move his mouse hand off the mouse and to the keyboard. The solution ... tape his hand to the mouse ... he made it through the first 7 levels by himself. I was kind of surprised that he was able to pick up the keyboard-mouse mechanic to move. All of the other games (e.g., Lego Batman, Lego Starwars, use the gamepad).

Benjamin, on the other hand, is gravitating towards Spore. He's successfully navigated the Tribal stage by himself, so now we're moving on the Civilization stage. It's kind of funny watching him play, making babies, collecting food, and interacting with the other tribes.

EEK!! He's been coughing all week and has been running a slight fever. We brought him into the doctors office today to be checked out and the verdict is ... walking pneumonia. Luckily, both are home on Friday and then we have the weekend. Between some rest and the antibiotics, hopefully he can shake it by Monday.

I wrote an article a couple months back, Why Miniatures Gaming Is A Great Hobby For Kids. It absolutly is. I got back into miniature figures about a year ago when my kids had just turned 5, at least that's when they found my figures in the closet.

However, every now and then I reminded that your meticulously painted figures are going to take some unanticipated abuse. Yesterday, I caught them using their toy catapults to shoot at some of my Space Marines that they had lined up on the terrain board ... they lost their minis privileges for the day. Guess that's why I don't really stress too much over the quality of my figures anymore.

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